Last update : Nov. 19th, 2012
As of November 2012, in addition to these documents, you need an invitation letter to get a tourism visa for China. Following the embassy, “This is a temporary rule”. As far as I know, the website of the Chinese embassy in Tokyo has not yet been updated.
The invitation letter can come from :
(a) A “duly authorized tourism unit” = travel agency
(b) A company, corporation or institution
(c) An individual
For (a), the embassy can provide you a list of travel agency (in Japanese only). The travel agency next door to the Roppongi embassy (map) can provide you the letter and submit directly the application to the embassy. They have application forms, copy machine and English-speaking staff. They can obtain single entry within 3 months visa for 8000¥ or two entries within 6 months visa for 12000¥· Following them, “This year, it’s very hard to get multiple entry 1 year visa”. They proposed me 33000¥ to apply for multiple entry within 1 year visa, and they charge 4000¥ even if the application is rejected. Note that above prices are two to three times higher than when applying directly to the embassy.
For (b), more information on the website of the Chinese embassy in Washington DC.
For (c), no information or template to show how to write the letter. A photocopy of the ID must be provided. Letters of invitation may be a photocopy, fax or printout, but consular officer may ask for the original letter or additional documents. Basically, it seems that they accept only applications for travelers with relatives in China.
Note that if your arrange your own trip, you must purchase the plane tickets and make a hotel reservation before you know whether your visa application will be approved.
If you have any other information, please let a comment. You can edit the map to add travel agencies locations and prices.
 website of the Chinese embassy in Washington DC, retrieved on 11/19/2012.