I have this guide but I don't take it to Japan. It probably has the best descriptions of all the temples and sights, but practical information, such as "Where is this hotel?" seems to be left out. For example, there is an entire page devoted to a description of Nijo-jo in Kyoto. However, if you're staying at the "starred" (recommended) Yachiya Ryokan in Kyoto, all you have to go on to get there is its address: 34 Nanzen-ji fukuchi-cho, etc. At least the Kyoto hotel map will give a general location. Only the hotel map has hotel locations and you have to find it among the other sightseeing maps. On many maps, such as that of Nagasaki, not one hotel is placed. Luckily, the hotels listed are large enough that a taxi driver should be able to find them.
Especially in the major destinations, each chapter has an "A to Z" listing that gives practical information about transportation, car rentals, sightseeing tours, and shopping, such as listing the department stores and craft shops.
There is usually a comprehensive hotel listing, but most seem to be in Y20,000 ($200) and up categories. There is sometimes one "token" inexpensive place listed, such as the Hiraiwa Ryokan in Kyoto.
This guide has the best listing of good restaurants, if your trip includes dining out at top-notch restaurants. Restaurants of all ethnicities are covered, from Middle Eastern and French to Indian and Japanese. The decor is commented on as well as the food and service.
I think this guide is for people with a large budget and little time, who can take taxis to find destinations, and once there, would like to read about it. It's also for those who will be spending 99% of their time between Tokyo and Hiroshima. Once the core area is left, the listings get thin for Tohoku, Hokkaido, Shikoku, and Kyushu. Many places are listed but the practical information is missing (choice of hotels and restaurants).
Itineraries in locale chapters are suggested under subheadings such as "If you have 2 days," to help you decide where you'd like to go. Entire Japan trip itineraries at the beginning are suggested if you have 14-16 days, 9 days, or 8 days. These are helpful in planning if you haven't been before.
Some of the information provided wasn't checked and is incorrect. It is nothing major though. For example, the author of the Sado Island sections states that "10,000 tons of silver and gold are mined annually." It's not even a typo; Mitsubishi Mining Co. sold off the mine in 1973 when it stopped producing. The Sado Gold Mine, Co. worked it until 1989 and then shut down. Another place is in Kushiro, Hokkaido where an arriving ferry is mentioned. There is no longer any ferry to Kushiro from Tokyo. These are minor errors but you can find them throughout.
If you plan to do Japan in 2 weeks, enjoy staying in $150-$200 per night hotels or ryokan, can rent a car at several destinations, and take taxis to get to your hotel, restaurant, or sightseeing destination, then this guide is a good choice. It is not for the budget traveller who is concerned with saving money to stay longer. It has more historic and cultural information about each place than other guides except maybe Kodansha or Eye Witness. It also lists more top-end hotels than even the JNTO brochures.
I have it, I take notes from it, but I don't carry it with me.