Okay, this post is way overdue... But here goes...
When moving around in Japan, one will be met with the “horror” of decoding the “where am I?”, “where am I going?” and what transportation will get me there, and how?
In all fairness, quite a few of the metro overview signs in Tokyo have been translated, and getting around is not as difficult as some people make it out to be.
By the way getting around in japan is quite easy once you get yourself a Pasmo card or a Suica card. (both do the same thing, they are just to different companies) but with that in hand you don’t need to buy a ticket you just touch it at the ticket gate when entering the station and again when you leave. You will of course need to charge it with money from time to time, which can be done at any station ☺
For information on HOW this takes place and what you options for paying are recommend reading these articles by http://www.japan-guide.com.
Now then! planning your trip For planning your trip, the easiest way of doing so, is using one of the many online planners. I personally am very fond of the Jorudan service. And use this pretty much every time I need to go somewhere I haven’t been before. It will give you all the relevant information you need, such as: ETA, what train to take, where to change trains, total cost of trip, alternative way to get there, and it will sort them for you showing the quickest way to get there, cheapest and so on. And there is a version in English, so you don’t have to input the kanji/hiragana.
...oh! and for all you iphone users out there ...more “tadaa!” here it is as an iphone app: Jorudan Iphone app
(Gotta say this app has been pure gold for me)
Thats all for now, later more might be added.