Oh, how I wish those bookstores had stocked this book! I ended up buying a few of those books, but when I got to Japan, I found this in a bookstore and bought it immediately - for about 3 times the cost as what you'd pay in the States. The other guidebooks were retired and now this is the book I use. It helps me figure out where I should go to enjoy my time in Japan, given that I am travelling by rail. It gives hotel, attraction, and meal information, plus great itineraries and a sense of the best places to go on the rail lines. Just because there's a stop doesn't mean it worth going to, in terms of your precious travel days. This book helps you figure out where to go and why.
* It's pretty much exclusively centered on Japan Rail lines. Considering that Japan is criss-crossed with the so-called "private lines" (Japan Rail was once a government railroad), this leads to some obvious gaps in coverage.
* Very little food & dining information. Tokyo, for example, gets only a few paragraphs.
* NO kanji (Chinese characters) or kana (Japanese syllabary) versions of destination signs. This is perhaps its biggest sin, since English-language platform signs and maps are the exception rather than the rule outside of the Tokyo metropolitan area. Unless you can already read kana or kanji, you WILL be confused trying to work out the signs.