Besides the speed, the Resort Shirakami is unusual for other reasons. The only train to run directly along Japan's coastline, its USP is dealing in a special kind of nostalgia, and my trip on the limited-stop service was a sell-out. Three trains operate on the Gonō Line, with three return services daily, and I was on board "Kumagera". It entered service in March 2006 and is named after a black woodpecker that lives in the Unesco-listed Shirakami-Sanchi Highlands, the world's largest remaining virgin beech forest, through which the train trundles. The train also has a tangerine snub nose on the front inspired by the setting sun.