Tooling around the Tawaragaura Peninsula

Yesterday, I decided to check out the peninsula to the south of Sasebo.  The plan was for this to be road ride and be on the lookout for some trails to explore on another day.  I was actually looking forward to a ride where I did not have to deal with the arachnid gauntlet of webs across the lightly used trails around here.  Last weekend, I must have taken 50 spiders to the face and it got old.

Peeping around on the online maps it looked like the peninsula was gong to be “country” so I packed plenty of snacks.  Onigiri is my favorite ride snack in this parts. It is a triangle of rice with some type of filling on the inside (I dig the tuna) and whole thing is wrapped in seaweed. 

After a bit of hilly road work I got to a pretty cool park overlooking the “99 Islands” area.  The islands are quite pretty and as you travel around there are every changing views as your angles to the numerous islands change.

The main road I took while heading out on the peninsula stayed up on the ridgelines for the most part.  There are quite a few old farming roads that head down to the various nooks and crannies along the shoreline.   Many of these roads are much more narrower and far more interesting that most of the “Trails” built by the various land mangers in San Diego County.


While humping back up one of these old roads, I came across another crab.   While I’m only a couple hundred feet above sea level here, I was still amazed to see them up this high.  I did a little research and found out that the crabs here have adapted to living away from the tidal range so you can find them all over.   Like the one I saw last week, this bugger did not like having me around.  He did manage is get some pressure on my thumb through my glove and I must say that this little guy has got quite a pinch. Doesn’t he look pissed?

As I ventured further out towards the end of the peninsula I found the roads turned away from the southern tip.  I managed to find an old road bed turned trail and decided it was worth a look as it would keep me working my way south.    I learned a spider sweeper technique for riding around here.   I take a nice green stick about 3 feet long and keep it between my right hand and handlebar grip.   When I see spider webs I sweep the stick around out in front of me.   It works well when climbing non-technical stuff, but not so much when descending or in technical stuff.   Of course I look like a crazy mashup of  a mountainbiker and an orchestra conductor on crack but what the heck the spider thing gets old after a while and this lets me keep moving. 


The old road bed led me up to what I believe is a series of old WWII bunkers.  (I have yet to confirm this, but I am told there are nuemerous ones in the area) Some of them are dug into the side of the mountain while others are dug down into the mountain.  They were really trippy.   This was the biggest one with five interconnected bunkers dug into the side of the mountain right at the summit. 

This was one of the ones that was buried down into the top of the mountain.


When I was in the large interconnected bunkers, I was not alone.  There were some bats that called this place home.   When I got too close that started flying around and moved into the adjacent bunkers.  Since I had started at one end by the time time I got to the last bunker, they were all concentrated into the one room.  They did not want to go outside and since I was standing in the archway between the rooms, they were a little perplexed.  I spent a lot of time working on getting a shot of these little guys.  They would often buzz within a foot of my head as they thought about going past me to get to the other room.   The camera flash usually sent them wheeling around away from me.

This is the best closeup I was able to snag.  Ain’t he cute?   I heard this species is closely related to the endangered Texas Perot Bat.

After harassing the bats for long enough, I continued along my way of poking around on the peninsula.  There was lots of farm patches up here as well as a small community.  Looking back to the north I could see pretty much every peak I have gotten to so far in Sasebo.

I decided to drop down to the Shirahama Beach were I was expecting to see hordes of Japanese hotties in bikinis.   I had to settle for nearly having the beach all to myself while enjoying an onigiri and views of the East China Sea. 

The water looked inviting but you would have to watch out for these critters which were in abundance.

I spent quite a bit of time checking out some of the nooks and inlets. I’m sure some are only accessible via boat.   I took lots of notes and waypoints of the many old abandoned roads and nearly overgrown trails that dot the area.  I have enough dots and dotted lines for a return visit.

I got to a road junction where I could take the fairly direct route back, or I could take the more round-about way back along a big eastern chunk of the peninsula I had not gotten to yet.  Thinking that I could stay down along the shoreline I took the road downhill into a small fishing villiage.  I really like these small seaside towns, I feel like I’m closer to the culture when in places like this.   I dig watching families fish, old couples tending to thier crops or just strolling along the narrow coastal streets.  The people are so warm and friendly particularly when you know enough of the language to exchange basic greetings and be polite.   When you look on the maps the peninsula is listed as Sasebo, however the three or four folks I talked with on this ride all asked if I had came “from” Sasebo.  Clearly they don’t think of thier quite little neck of the woods as Sasebo and now, neither do I.   The ride back along the more scenic route was anything but the flat cruiser shoreline ride I had expected.  Between the little fishing villiages the road would climb back up into the hills and then drop back down at the next village.  I don’t know how many undulations I went through but by the time I got back to the hotel I was throughly pooped.   It was a good day on a bike.

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3 thoughts on “Tooling around the Tawaragaura Peninsula”

  1. Great photography once again.

    What kind of camera do you carry? I would think you couldn’t carry too much equipment, but the photos are great.

    1. I carry a Canon 20D with a 18-200mm lens. I have a Havoc Camelbak so it all fits nicely. I have an old camera back that just fits the camera and lens that I cut the top out of it and velcroed it into the camelback as a camera pouch. It is not a light setup, but I hooked on the DSLR and rarely go on a ride with out it.

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