3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Your safest bet for travelling in Japan,
This review is from: Japan (Lonely Planet Country Guides) (Paperback)
I've travelled quite a bit in Japan and this edition is much improved from my old copy published in 2000 (7th edition). The two new features are the "Top 20" and the example itineraries. First time traveller will find the example itineraries really useful. They are really good and well-travelled routes, covering top spots like Kyoto, Nara and Tokyo. The "Top 20" gives you some interesting ideas.
The lack of photos in the Lonely Planet Guides do make it bit harder to plan trips. For this reason, we also took the "Eye Witness Travel" with us but beyond looking at the photos, we didn't use it much. The Lonely Planet provided a good commentary of the various buildings and locations we visited.
We had trouble booking a budget range hotel listed in the book in Kyoto. This often seems to happen with places that get listed in the Lonely Planet so either book really early or find a less busy hotel on the Internet.
As with the other LP guides, the history section is pretty good. The guide also does well to pack so much from the northern island of Hokkaido to the tropical islands of Okinawa but I was a little disappointed with its coverage of Tokyo. If you're staying in Tokyo for perhaps 2-3 days, it'll serve you well but Tokyo is an enormous city. If you've "done" Tokyo before or intend to stay longer, you may find the Tokyo section a little limited. In that case, you should probably also take a dedicated Tokyo guide book along.
Despite my small gripes, the Lonely Planet guide (or may be the Rough Guide, if you prefer) will be your essential companion for your travels in Japan.