Hint: if you right-click on a link and select "Open in New Window" then you can continue scrolling down this list while the first link is downloading.

Jump down the page to:
Japan - general
Living and working in Japan
Maps and travel resources
Studying Japanese
Computing in Japan
English-language online media in Japan
The JET Programme
Personal websites
Shiga and Hikone
Sumo links
Kimono links
Woodblock printing / Ukiyo-e


The Foreigner - Japan - an very good online magazine for foreigners in, or with an interest in, Japan. Covers news, culture and language.

Gaijin Cafe - a useful portal site for foreigners living in Japan (or just contemplating living there)

Japan Reference - loads of info about Japan

Cortext Translation - a useful guide to anyone planning to start a new venture in the Japanese market, thinking of going to work in Japan, or just researching their next holiday. As you may guess from the name, they also provide Japanese translation services.

A Look into Japan - a bilingual (French/English) site. Click on one of the cats to get in.

Schauwecker's Guide to Japan - masses of useful information and resources.

Randy Johnson's Japan page - information on sushi and travel, plus numerous links

Stanford Guide to Japan Information Resources

Kids Web Japan - information on Japan and its culture and customs, aimed mainly at kids but interesting for adults too.

The Japan Zone - a huge collection of information on many aspects of Japan. Includes a forum where you can post any questions you may have.


Gaijin in Japan - a site dedicated to helping those who live as foreigners in Japan (or want to)

Info from Schauwecker's Guide to Japan

Rob Murphy's guide to life in Japan - lots of good information

O-hayo Sensei - the newsletter of (teaching) jobs in Japan

Teaching English in Japan: A Guide to Getting a Job

ELT News - the website for English teachers in Japan

Three Wise Monkeys - an excellent collection of classroom activities, categorised by level, grammar, time and materials required, and collected from ALTs on the JET Programme in Tochigi-ken.

What to take - my own observations on what is and isn't worth bringing with you.

Information about Japan - a site aimed mainly at newcomers to Japan, particularly North Americans on the JET Programme. It doesn't appear to have been updated recently so a lot of the links are dead, but there's still a lot of useful information.

Counselling and Support in Japan - a page established to give information on counseling, psychotherapy, online support, self-help groups and mental health care available in Tokyo and Japan, and also to provide a forum where anyone experiencing emotional difficulties relating to a wide range of issues can communicate their feelings and get support. It's bilingual too.


My costs page - for an idea of the day-to-day expenses you can expect when travelling in Japan

Currency conversion "cheat sheets" - you get a table of amounts in one currency and their equivalents in another currency. Wide range of currencies to choose from, and you can also choose which rate - interbank rate (not really applicable to Joe Public), credit card rates (bank typically takes a 2% margin) and cash rates (4% margin).

WWOOF Japan - a cheap working holiday in Japan: work for 4-6 hours per day in return for board and lodging. Most of the host establishments are organic farms but there are also a few other establishments such as pensions and temples.

Cheap flights from the UK to Tokyo (you can search on other destinations too, but only for flights originating in the UK)

The Japanese Railways Page - lots of useful information, in English. Includes a section on local trains at http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Cove/5750/local.html, with advice on getting the most from the juhachi-kippu.

The Japanese Railways Group - more info in English on Japanese trains.

JR East's train schedule search engine (in Japanese). Tell it where you want to go and when, and it will give you the connections you need.

Travel information from the JNTO (Japan National Tourist Office)

The Lonely Planet guide to Japan

STA Travel in Japan

The Quirky Japan Homepage - a change from the usual tourist bumf!


If you come to Japan, don't expect people to speak English. Most Japanese may have studied English at school for six years, but that doesn't necessarily mean that they can hold any kind of conversation. This is partly due to a lack of confidence, partly due to the emphasis on reading and writing, and partly because the gulf between Japanese and English is so wide; it's not as if they are European students learning another European language. (Anyway, how many Brits do you know who can hold a conversation in a foreign language?!)
Learn as much Japanese as possible before you go - even if you can only manage a few words it will make life easier!

The Japanese Page has all sorts of stuff related to the Japanese language. Their shop sells Canon Wordtanks and other electronic dictionaries (denshijisho) at very competitive prices, and also manga, and will ship worldwide. To help you decide which model is best for your needs, they also provide details of all the dictionaries they stock, with pros and cons for each one. You might also want to take a look at my 2001 research on electronic dictionaries here. A bit out of date now, but should give you an idea of what features to look for. If you've found my site helpful and/or interesting, and you make a purchase from the Japanese Shop, then please mention my name in the comments box at the checkout!

Free Light Software - software for learning Japanese, free Japanese email, information on Japanese search engines, and more.

WorldLanguage.com - sells a wide choice of Japanese dictionaries, including paper, software and handheld electronic types. Lots of other languages covered too. (US-based.)

Shodouka - a portal which allows you to view Japanese-language sites using a non-Japanese-enabled browser. The formatting may get messed up a bit, but you'll be able to see the content.

Learning Japanese - advice from a fellow student, with a number of recommendations for textbooks and other resources.

Jim Breen's Japanese page - at first glance, mostly links to other Japan/Japanese-related pages. However, Jim Breen also hosts the Monash Nihongo FTP Archive, a huge collection of downloadable software for Japanese language learners and people who want to use Japanese on a non-Japanese computer.

Japanese-Online (Note that your browser needs Japanese language capability for some lessons.) They're selling software too, but the online lessons are free.

The Human Japanese forum - a discussion site for anyone with an interest in the Japanese language. Human Japanese is a CD for teaching basic Japanese, including the hiragana and katakana syllabaries but no kanji; the CD is for sale but the forum is free.

The quick and dirty guide to Japanese - an excellent outline of how Japanese grammar works. This can be found in various places on the web.

Tumbleweed's Resources for Learning Japanese

Shinji X's Kanji Homepage - for learning kanji.

Kanji-Gold - a downloadable (free) kanji learning aid. (PC only, I think.)

Dave Ellis' Japanese jokes page - a selection of jokes (written in romaji and explained in English) to help you fool people into thinking that you can speak Japanese!


Note regarding ISPs: In many cases only a limited degree of English-language support/content is provided, but if you're fairly computer-literate this shouldn't be a major problem. If you can, the best thing to do is to seek recommendations from existing users in your area of Japan.

Getting online in Japan - my own guide to getting set up with an Internet service

ComSIG Online - the official home page of AJET ComSIG, the computer user group for JET Programme participants and other expatriates living in Japan. Home to the ComLink HTML-based e-zine, and host to the web pages of several other JET-related groups.

Global OnLine (special deals available for AJET members here)

Biwa-lobe - ISP with very good coverage of the Shiga area, but limited English-language support



The Japan Times

The Daily Yomiuri

The Asahi Shimbun, English edition

The Mainichi Daily News (the word "mainichi" means "every day")


The JET Programme - official website

All about the JET Programme - part of the CLAIR website (CLAIR is the Council for Local and International Relations, which organises the JET Programme)

AJET Home Page - AJET is the Association for Japan Exchange and Teaching, run for and by current JET participants.

Big Daikon online JET community - an unofficial JET site showing both sides of the coin. If you're a new or potential JET, be warned that the "speak your mind" discussion board, in particular, sometimes seems to be populated predominantly by people who are having a bad time on the programme. There are plenty of us who are happy with our situations but it seems to be the miserable/cynical ones who are the most vocal! (Or maybe it's just that the webmaster just doesn't like posts that show JET in a positive light.) As for the Kyoto accommodation story, I found it hard to believe that all of those things had happened to one person, but apparently it's true. (And apparently it wasn't in Kyoto city proper, but in an industrial suburb with a lot of problems.) Very few JETs get it as bad as that though.

My own JET FAQ for would-be JETs, covering subjects such as what the recruiters are looking for, the interview, accommodation and whether the salary is enough to live on.


A guy called Mark who lives in Kofu in Yamanashi-ken. His site includes local information, travel photos, some good information on electronic dictionaries (denshijisho) - far more up to date than what I have on here - and a collection of Japanisms, which are largely the same thing as Japlish.

Dan in Japan - a detailed account of a JCMU student's recent stay in Hikone, with an excellent section contrasting Japanese and American/Western culture. The "Jenglish" section is amusing too, but unfortunately there are no thumbnails so you have to download each image in turn.

The website of Caitlin Keelan, a JET in Omi-Hachiman, Shiga-ken.

Big in Japan - a journal describing the life of a (British) gaijin in Tokyo.

Ed's Photos - A photo-travelogue of Japan, completed in 1999. Some great pictures.


Mel's Hikone Page - produced by Harold Melville, a New Yorker who teaches English at Shiga University. Some great pictures.

Sightseeing attractions of lake country Shiga

Shiga Survival Guide - primarily for JETs, but there's a lot of stuff in there that other people will find useful too.

Also see the Dan in Japan website mentioned in the Personal websites section, above.


Everything you ever wanted to know about sumo!

Grand Sumo Homepage - this seems to share a lot of content with the
Nihon Sumo Kyokai



My own kimono page - general information, descriptions of the various types of kimono, and instructions for putting one on.

A page of links to other kimono-related sites

Kids Web Japan's kimono section - history, types, occasions for wearing kimono

General information about kimono

Keika's World - a Japanese woman's page on kimono

A page on the historical development of kimono from pre-330AD to the Edo period (1601-1867)

A guide to Japanese period dress for re-enactors of historical events.

Kimono Nishijin - an English-language site selling kimono and accessories to overseas customers. (Nishijin is the textiles area of Kyoto.)


Ukiyo-e, often translated as "pictures of the floating world", is a style of woodblock printing (hanga) which was very popular in Japan a couple of hundred years ago. The two best-known artists are Hokusai and Hiroshige. The style has since declined in popularity in Japan but gained a lot of worldwide recognition. One of the things I hoped to do during my time in Japan was to learn how to make my own woodblock prints from scratch, but unfortunately I never succeeded in locating either a class or a teacher.

Jim Breen's ukiyo-e gallery - traditional Japanese woodblock prints.

A Guide to the Ukiyo-e Sites of the Internet - an evidently well-maintained ukiyo-e gallery, based in Sweden.

Woodblock.com - A forum for woodblock printmakers, with lots of useful information.


The Anime Checklist - a complete check-list of Japanese animated figures (anime) produced in Japan since 1917. This site won the Japan Reference Gold Award as the most complete anime list.

Ikebana World - a London-based branch of the Ikenobo school of flower arranging, also offers distance learning.

Kansai Consumers Club - delivers organic and vegetarian food to most parts of Japan.

Expat essentials - a British company who supply goodies from home to Brits living overseas (or anyone else who wants British stuff).

Acting in Japan - About finding acting and modelling work in Japan. The site owner's objective is to sell you a book, but the site makes an interesting read anyway and the book could be a worthwhile investment if this is something you're interested in doing.

Japanese manners & etiquette (part of Rob Murphy's site - see the "Living and working in Japan" section)

Links to Japanese webcams

My own Japlish pages

A huge collection of "Engrish", which is another name for what I call Japlish.

Hikone Engekishoukai (drama club) (in Japanese)

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© Lynne Donaldson
This page last edited 4th October 2004