The Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) has an office in Tokyo. The JNTO-affiliated International Tourism Center of Japan also has more than 140 counters/offices nationwide. Look for the sign showing a red question mark and the word "information" at train stations and city centers. Needing help on the move? For recorded information 24 hours a day, call the Teletourist service.
Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO) Contacts
Tourist Information Center (TIC) (Shin Tokyo Bldg. 1F, 3-3-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 100-0005. 03/3201-3331. www.jnto.go.jp/eng.)
Online Travel Tools
Online cultural resources and travel-planning tools abound for travelers to Japan. Aside from the expected information about regions, hotels, and festivals, Web Japan has offbeat info such as the location of bargain-filled ¥100 shops in Tokyo and buildings designed by famous architects. Another good source for all-Japan information and regional sights and events is Japan-guide.com.
Urban Rail maintains a useful subway navigator, which includes the subway systems in Tokyo and the surrounding areas. The Metropolitan Government Web site is an excellent source of information on sightseeing and current events in Tokyo.
Check out the Web sites of Japan's three major English-language daily newspapers: the Asahi Shimbun, Daily Yomiuri, and the Japan Times. Expats share insider knowledge on the magazine site Metropolis; it has up-to-date arts, events, and dining listings. In the Kansai region, Kansai Scene is definitely worth a look.
Avoid being lost in translation with the help of Japanese-Online, a series of online language lessons that will help you pick up a bit of Japanese before your trip. (The site also, inexplicably, includes a sampling of typical Japanese junior-high-school math problems.) Order Japan's tastiest with confidence by checking translations on the Tokyo Food Page.
The Web site, the Japanese Garden, has photographic tours of more than 20 famous gardens and explanations about their history and design elements. Keep an eye on Mt. Fuji with the 24-hour live camera at Mt. Fuji Live. The Japan Sumo Association's Web site sets you straight with everything from the moves, the rankings, and even translated interviews with the wrestlers; tournament ticket information (but not booking) is also available. The Kabuki-za Theater in Tokyo has history, stories, and sounds of the ancient art form (with good information about costumes and makeup) at its Web site. Japan has a good share of places designated by UNESCO. Check them out at Web Japan, a site sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which includes some quirky information on new Japanese trends.
All About Japan
Web Japan (web-jpn.org.)
English-Language Media Sources
Asahi Shimbun (ajw.asahi.com.)
Daily Yomiuri (www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy.)
Japan Times (www.japantimes.co.jp.)
Kansai Scene (www.kansaiscene.com.)
. Time Out Tokyo (www.timeout.jp.)
Urban Rail (www.urbanrail.net.)
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