If you're going to Japan I recommend this book for 95% of your travelling pleasure and information. It may not have EVERYTHING about Japan or be as detailed as other guides, but the true point of a guide is to be concise and accurate.
It's not too large so that you're carrying around a dictionary which hurts to walk with; makes you embarrassed to show; or vividly display's to the country that you're a tourist. It's not too small that you have to squint to read; is easy to lose; or hard to find the information you require.
The layout is precise, colourful, and common-in-sense. The chapters each have an apparent colour and mark a different region of Japan. Within each region are the major cities present plus some notable other areas (eg: Hot Springs, Mountains, and Beaches). There are plenty of pictures, diagrams, charts, important information sheets, etc, throughout the book. (eg: each region has a breakdown map of cities/notable places). Within the major cities, there are landmarks, attractions, and neat notable nooks mentioned throughout. Everything is followed by an appropriately concise paragraph. This is how it should be to me: A brief description of what you are going to see so that you do not have your nose buried in the book when you should be viewing the sites and yet still have a background to what you are viewing.
I think every guide book should have many pictures, maps, etc, so that you can help visually reference yourself, which you will need to do in Japan. There is so much packed together in this country that it's easy to get lost. There are pictures literally on almost every page of this book, which provide excellent landmarks for your travels. The maps are not overwhelming; they only display the required information.
I obtained 15+ guide books and maps during my travel to Japan, however this one book was the reference I carried with me everywhere I went. Until you tour Japan often you are going to want a book like this one for everywhere you go.