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PEPY Ride Hyogo

PEPY  (formerly “Protect the Earth, Protect Yourself”) has a new acronym to reflect their changing focus as an organization. Though they still care about the earth and sustainability, PEPY’s true focus is on education in Cambodia, and the hope that an investment in today’s youth of that country will lead to a better future for all.

I’ve been wanting to go on a PEPY tour in Cambodia for some time now, having become almost accidentally involved in fundraising for them back in the spring of 2010. I stumbled into leadership of the PEPY Ride Hyogo – JETs on Jitenshas – when I innocently inquired about the Hyogo ride, assuming then that it would be out of my league either because of my full calendar or because of my inexperience at riding a big-kid bike.

But the great thing about being in charge is, you get to say where and when and also how hard, far, and fast you’ll be going, so the latest string of Himeji-based Hyogo PEPY rides have been leisurely bike strolls from Himeji station to local points of interest, most frequently and especially Mt. Shosha, the famous location of The Last Samurai, and Taiyo Koen, the eclectic collection of world monuments gathered helter-skelter round.. an old folks’ home?

The bike rides’ seasonal timing, visitation of temples and shrines (and oddities), and frequent breaks for things like eating suit me just fine. We do two rides each year here in Hyogo: one in the spring, which we try to time for enjoyment of those ephemeral sakura blooms, and one in the autumn to take in the vista of Japan’s other great arboreal showman, the momiji.

We attempt in our Japan-local rides to emulate the ideas espoused by PEPY in their Cambodia tours. Sustainability and human power (so, the bikes), sightseeing, learning, and donation to a good cause. Participants will be donating to PEPY, and will also have the option of donating to ongoing cleanup efforts here in our own Japan.

This fall’s ride will be much like last autumn’s; Himeji Castle is still in its scaffolding box, but we are going to make a new shrine stop along the way. The focal point will be Mt. Shosha and Engyo-ji, the temple located at the top. JETs (and friends) will have the option of taking the cable car or hiking up the mountain, where we’ll have a picnic lunch (the most eco-friendly and healthy-looking lunch wins the bento prize!). I’ve done some new research on the Saigoku Kannon 33-Temple Pilgrimage, of which Engyo-ji is the 27th Temple, so I’ll be able to give a more knowledgeable tour of the grounds to anyone interested in following along.

I love the PEPY Ride because every one of them that I’ve been on so far has been filled with fair weather, good scenery, and a feel-good group of people from all over the place, gathered to meet new friends and have a good time exploring a part of their (or their neighboring) prefecture. We capitalize on some of the best seasons in this country and spend the whole day outside, getting lots of exercise and fresh air, and we finish the day good-and-tired, a little worn out, but happy.

The next ride will be November 19th, starting from Himeji station and lasting until about sundown. Our plan is to use the free rental bikes available from the Himeji tourist office, but participants can also either rent one from the station (300 yen) or bring their own. All participants should also bring a picnic lunch (combini bento will cause you to lose the bento contest), and 500 yen to get in to the temple on top of Mt. Shosha. The ropeway costs 900 yen round trip.

We’ve also consistently raised hundreds of dollars for PEPY’s educational initiatives in Cambodia! Find out more about PEPY and what they do (including how to donate, and their tours in Cambodia) here: www.pepyride.org

Here are the photos from Spring 2010: https://picasaweb.google.com/eclaire.lemmon/HimejiRiiiiiide?authuser=0&feat=directlink

Here are the photos from Fall 2010:


And here are the photos for Spring 2011:


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  1. Thanks so much for organizing these events in support of PEPY’s education programs in Cambodia! We’re so grateful! I’d love to get back to Japan and join you all some day!

    (PEPY Co-Founder)

  2. Thanks for your note Daniela! And we love to support the good things you’re doing in Cambodia. Some of this year’s Himeji riders are coming to Cambodia this winter break, and we’re super excited!

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