I really have no idea how people traveled before the Internet. Seriously- I think I have googled about 200 things related to my upcoming trip. I seem to have a vague memory from pre-Internet days of a book called Lonely Planet… I think that is how I used to get around.
I thought I would share with you some of my links I use when traveling to Japan. The first one is the Japanese Inn Group. I am usually very selfish of this link because it really is fantastic- you must have caught me on a good day. This website lists bed and breakfast style accommodation throughout Japan. They usually consist of a house that has been cut up into little rooms- both western and Japanese style- a pay TV ( literately 100yen per hour) a hot water kettle and shared use bath. The range is really vast of what you might find- from very basic to quite posh. The average price for one person is about 6000 Yen a night- equivalent to just over $50 Canadian right now. I have stayed at two different inns in Kyoto and will stay in one in Tokyo for the first time this year. One inn in Kyoto has the best old fashioned hinoki tub- I just made sure I was the first one in at 6pm. ( Hi-no-moto Inn pictured above) . My poor girlfriend had heeby-jeebies about sharing bathwater ( you are supposed to be clean before you go in…) and stuck to the shower during our stay.
For train information try this link. It has connection info and all sorts of handy things- like walking times- to get you where you need to go. Remember that traveling in the mornings in Osaka and Tokyo can be crazy so leave extra time to make it to your destination. And get ready to be pushed….Word of advice- face FORWARD to the door when being pushed so your rear end is going into someone rather than your front. You never know when someone will go for a grab so if you are female and traveling late at night or at commuter times look for the pink cars marked for women only. If you plan on seeing Tokyo and Kyoto during a stay in Japan check the Japan Rail Pass. It is offered to foreigners on a travel stay at a discounted rate. You must apply for it before you leave for Japan- it is not available in the country.
If you are bringing your computer along and need wireless access try this link. It lists lots of cafes, computer friendly areas, and Internet places. It will also tell you whether power is available there or not.
As for cheap flights to Japan you are on your own there- I use my benefits as a flight attendant. If you find something though let me know and I will happily add it!