How-to Info

By , Tuesday, Jun 17, 2008, 12:00 AM

RESOURCES There had to be three positive mentions before a place went on my list. Begin at the rich website of the Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO), japantravelinfo.com; you can direct specific inquiries to 212/757-5641 and visitjapan@jntonyc.org. Another good website is japan-guide.com. For guidebooks, I used Lonely Planet and Rough Guides. Also, Kateigaho International Edition (KIE) is an English-language magazine about Japan's arts and culture (int.kateigaho.com).

NAVIGATING For Japan Railways help, call 212/332-8681, or address inquiries to info@japanrail.com or to travel information manager John Tedford (stnmaster@japanrail.com). Boyé Lafayette De Mente's book Subway Guide to Tokyo is a useful resource. To arrange for a Goodwill Guide, start at the JNTO site (www.jnto.go.jp/eng/arrange/essential/guideservice.html). To locate a guide in Koyasan, we went via Koyasan Wakayama Interpreter Volunteer Club (nnc.or.jp/~t-toshi/wivc). Your request gets passed to the members of the club; anyone interested replies directly to you.

LODGING AND FOOD To find information on ryokan (inns) all over the country—and to book them—use japaneseguesthouses.com. You can book a stay at a Koyasan temple through the website, too (and shukubo.jp/eng also has a list of temple lodgings). To locate restaurants, check out exceedingly helpful Metropolis magazine (metropolis.co.jp), particularly its Best of Tokyo restaurant poll, and the Tokyo Food Page at bento.com. If you want help figuring out what you're eating, you'll find Robb Satterwhite's What's What in Japanese Restaurants to be a handy book.