Reviews by David Luke
I have a copy of Koujien, which is very comprehensive, but has (as stated above) a "historical emphasis", meaning that verbs are listed in their classical forms, and definitions of words are listed in order of historical usage (oldest meanings first) rather than being listed in order of frequency. I don't have any first-hand experience with the other two dictionaries mentioned above.
It's a large two-volume set, which starts with basic patterns and covers most of the basic grammatical constructions in Japanese. Alfonso includes _lots_ of example sentences, fairly detailed and clear explanations, and a lot of drills and exercises, making this a good book for self-study. He also includes intonation information, which is very nice, but the book is 100% romaji, which gets very tedious very fast, IMO. The price is around Y3500 for each volume. There's a big section on 'wa' and 'ga' in the second volume, somewhere around pp. 975, if I remember right.