JR Rail Passbabibubebo | 3 07 2006
If you are a foreign tourist, this is a great way to see a lot of Japan. You pay a one time fee and then have unlimited rides on all JR lines for free (including the shinkansen). YOU MUST PURCHASE A PASS BEFORE COMING TO JAPAN (you CANNOT purchase one after arriving in Japan). After purchasing a pass in your home country you will get a voucher, then you will exchange the voucher for the actual pass once you arrive in Japan.
There are actually many different types of passes, for example one is for the whole country and there are some for certain regions of Japan. For a complete list of options and information please see the Japan-Guide.com. Also, see the official JR site for more information.
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