Snooping around Sasebo, Japan

So work has taken me back across the International Date Line for some more adventures in Japan.  This time I am in the south of Japan in the city of Sasebo.     The work is interesting with some new challenges to keep me on my toes.  I even have run into some old freinds from San Deigo who are calling Sasebo home these days.   What was really cool upon arriving here were all the freaking mountains I saw on the drive from the airport to the city.   Forested ridgelines that seemed to go on forever was pretty much the norm.  Early last week, I snagged a rental and have started snooping around.   With promenant peaks in just about ever direction there is plenty to explore.   There is not much of a organized scene here MTB wise, but there is a culture of hiking and what I would call “Micro-National Parks” in the area.  

This past sunday I checked out some of the in-town mountains.  There was quite a bit of road interconnecting to get to the trails but I think it was worth it.  This is an exceptionally pretty area so it was more like a tasty road-touring cake with some yummy dirt frosting on top. 

The view of the a small slice of the “99 Islands” from Mt Ishidake.

Zippy along the trail on Mt Akasaki.

Hmmmmmmm, where to go next?

The chunkier route less followed.

Brushing this out of your face along the trail is kinda cool.

Brushing these off your face is not so cool.  They get about as big as a silver dollar and while harmless they can freak you our when you get “Bulls-Eyed” right in the face with them.   This has happened more times while riding in Japan than I can count.

One of the mountains within the city limits of Sasebo is Mt Yumihari.  It is sizable and the roads are a bit steep.  While I have been on Mt Yumihari a couple of times already, there is no real trail system but more a like series of not quite connected trails.

 

Still there appears to be plenty of stuff worth exploring.

There are some stunning views from the summit, but I thought some of the more interesting bits were off in the back corners and the not quite so accessible spots.

This little spot about several hundred meters past and a brisk climb from all the parking lots was absolutely empty and made a pretty tranquil spot to chill and knock back a snack.

I recognized this as soon as I saw these as they were also near Mt Takayama near Yokosuka.   This is the basement foundation for a anti-aircraft gun battery used during World War II to protect the port of Sasebo.   I could not help but think what must have been gone through the minds of the soldiers manning this battery on August 9th 1945 when “Fat Man”, the second atomic bomb, was dropped on Nagasaki just 30 miles to the south.   On a clear day they would have had an unobrstructed view of ground zero and the mushroom cloud that reached upwards of 60,000 feet.  I’m sure they must have felt and heard it for sure.   Talk about being a witness to history.

There was this faded sign nearby.

By this time I was getting pooped and the my daylight buffer was getting a little short for full blown by myself and unaided by maps exploring.  I went down the mountain on a new route that included an extremely narrow one-lane paved road and took notes on all the various trails heading off here and there to be snooped at on another day.

It was a great day on a bike and I slept like a baby that night.

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