ARI Family Series – Intern Sun’s Experience

Happy weekends! It’s already May and one-third of 2023 has past just like that. I still cannot believe that it’s already been 7 weeks since I first came to Asian Rural Institute (ARI). For the past 2 months there have been so many exciting moments and I would like to share my experience here at ARI so I hope you can all tag along:)

Work life in ARI: Farm Section & Crops and Vegetables

Before I came to ARI, I set mainly two goals: to take part in hands-on works and to learn about the environment and food life.

The first goal was definitely met as ARI is full of hands-on projects. It’s actually impossible to stay in ARI and not experience direct work. I had the opportunity to work in the Farm Section where I experienced making hot beds, planting seeds, building bamboo houses to harvesting vegetables every Tuesday and Friday morning.

>> Harvesting nanohana

The second goal was also met easily since I was in the Farm Section and was out in the fields all day. Before coming to ARI, I didn’t even know how to use a sickle but by the end of my stay, I found myself leading newcomers and making soil with them. Observing and being a part of the planting & harvesting helped me understand the full cycle of organic farming. Not only that, it helped me appreciate the food on my dish.


Community life in ARI

Along with the learnings in the fields, I was also able to achieve my second goal through living in the community. I had so many chances to talk to people from different countries with different professions. I still remember the conversations I had with a volunteer couple from the US who were running a herb farm. They told me about GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) and how there were no policies on labelling a GMO product in their place. First of all, I didn’t even know what GMOs were and was surprised that this had been an issue. I also learned about so many more issues around the world by talking to a priest from India, a social worker from Cameroon, a student from Germany and much more.

>> Photo with the ARI family 

While living in a lively community is fun, the constant human interactions can get tiring at times. In ARI, we also have non-human interactions: pigs, chicken, and goats! Working with these livestock was actually one of the most exciting parts.

>> Piglets, chicken and goats!

Nevertheless, it was always good to spend time with the ARI family. I spent most of my time in the Farm section with the “Farm-ily” and while there were deep talks, it was mainly causal life stories that filled our conversations.

Work life in ARI: PR Team & Contributing to events

Other than the farm work, I got a chance to work with the PR team and developed understandings on social media marketing. I also was asked to take pictures during the community events and to create my own original posts.

Not only working in the PR team but in ARI, if there was anything I volunteered to do, the community members were flexible and offered chances to contribute. During the 2023 entrance ceremony I was given the opportunity to play the piano and the flute. Although I was in ARI for a short period of time, the community gave me so many opportunities to take part and I’m truly grateful for that.

>> At the entrance ceremony

In Conclusion

The experiences including the learnings to the friendships I built in ARI are unforgettable. The learnings of organic farming and social issues really widened my perspective and helped me understand the global society with more dimension. All in all, I truly want to encourage anyone who is even slightly interested to come visit and experience it for yourself!

ARI Name: Sun (Wesley Foundation Intern)

Photos from ARI Instagram and Facebook

ARI Director Tomoko’s book (Japanese) was published!

ARI Director Tomoko Arakawa’s book “Seeking Knowledge for Living Together – From ARI’s Window” is now available for order.
The book is available at the following special price if you order it from ARI.
Please contact ARI to place your order.
(+81) 0287-36-3111
Regular price 1,200 yen (tax not included), but only for the year 2023
50th anniversary price 1,000 yen (tax included, shipping not included)

ARI’s 50th Anniversary Donation Site Japanese version is now open (followed by English version coming soon)

Today the Japanese version of 50th anniversary donation page is open. The English version will be coming soon around the time of opening ceremonies.

The target amount is 20 million yen.

Please remember with the activity of the graduates and ARI training.

We will be posting updates on this page from time to time about the work of our graduates, the voices of our supporters, opening ceremonies live streaming, and anniversary events that we would like to remember together on the occasion of our 50th anniversary with the theme “Learning together for the rural future.” We will post the notices on SNS.

We would be happy if you could use this opportunity to let people who do not yet know about ARI know about us.

We hope you will spread about the donation to as many people as possible.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

We will begin accepting ARI’s 50th Anniversary Donations

Tomorrow is the start of a new school year! One by one, participants and volunteers of this year are coming to campus. They create a new learning community for the new academic year.

ARI, founded in 1973, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with your support this year.
We look forward to sharing the joy with not only our campus community members, but also with graduates and supporters all over the world. We hope you will join us for our occasional commemorative events tha will be held online as well.

We will also begin accepting donations to commemorate our 50th anniversary. Our goal is 20 million yen.

First we prepared the donation page in Japanese ( and soon we will prepare English version at the time of opening ceremonies.

We would be happy if you could use this opportunity to let people who do not yet know about ARI know about us.
We hope you will spread about the donation to as many people as possible.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

ARI will be on the radio/podcast program “Learning about Disaster Prevention and Mitigation”

(Please listen to it if you’d like the radio program in Japanse)

ARI’s director and chaplains got interviewed for CRT Tochigi Broadcasting’s special radio program, “Learning about Disaster Prevention and Mitigation.”

They will talk about the ARI experience of the March 11 Tohoku earthquake.

ARI’s broadcasts will be on March 4 and 11. (Re-broadcasts will be on March 5 and 12)

The program will also be available via podcast. Details: CRT Tochigi Broadcasting

Program name: “JA Kyosairen Tochigi Presents Special News Program: Learning Disaster Prevention and Mitigation”

This program is designed to provide an opportunity to raise awareness about disaster prevention and how to minimize damage and prompt recovery when a disaster occurs.

Broadcast date and time:

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Main broadcast: 2/25 (Sat), 3/4 (Sat), 3/11 (Sat) 12:10-12:40

Re-broadcast 2/26 (Sun), 3/5 (Sun), 3/12 (Sun) 10:00-10:30

The second and third sessions are ARI. (Broadcasts will be aired on March 4 and 11, with rebroadcasts on March 5 and 12, respectively)

Broadcast details: 

First session: Saturday, February 25, 2023

Disaster Prevention Capability of Tochigi” (in preparation for possible future disasters) 

Second Session: Saturday, March 4, 2023 (ARI)

Disaster Prevention Education” (Disaster prevention education in educational institutions and facilities) 

Third Session: Saturday, March 11 (ARI)

Preparedness for Disaster” (What kind of mental care and mental preparedness is needed?)

ARI changes its identity domain to

In honor of our 50th anniversary this year, ARI has changed its domain name from to

After the switch to our new website URL, staff email address are going to be changed in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you will have no problem to continue our current and old e-mail addresses (… as before.
Access to will be automatically forwarded to

The old domain, which has been in use for nearly 20 years since 2004, unintentionally showed an identity that reflected the thoughts of ARI’s founders, including Rev. Toshihiro Takami, who pioneered the era of NGOs in Japan in the 1970s.
“.org” represented grassroots, NGO-like activities; “ari-edu” expressed ARI’s educational perspective.

In 2023, starting with the kick-off event on February 16, we will celebrate our 50th anniversary. We will share with you the questions that are needed in today’s world under the theme of “Learning together for the rural future.”

As our new identity domain clearly positions ARI as an higher educational institution in Japan, as a place of learning for rural leaders, and as a school located in Japan with responsibility for peace, we will share questions to realize peace in the world and peace from the soil.

We hope you will understand the purpose of the change and access our school website at

As for email, we are preparing new, more user-centered accounts.
Please note that when our staff members contact you, they will start using the new accounts.

Message from the New Chair of the Board

The former chair, Masaoki Hoshino, retired on May 31, 2022, and the new chair, Toshimasa Yamamoto, assumed office on June 1, 2022.

My name is Toshimasa Yamamoto and I am pleased to have become the new chairperson for the ARI Board of Directors. I look forward to working with you.

My first encounter with Asia outside of Japan was when I stayed for a year in Indonesia during my college days in 1972 as a participant on the International Christian Youth Exchange program. After returning to Japan, I visited ARI every year with my church and as a YMCA work camp member. ARI became a place where I could hear the “voice of Asia,” smell the “smells of Asia,” and taste the “food of Asia.” This unique experience, which taught me the importance of “living with Asia,” has continued for more than 40 years until today.

We will soon celebrate our 50th anniversary at ARI. Our most distinctive feature is that ARI is almost 100% self-sufficient in food production through organic farming.
As a vocational school for training rural leaders from developing countries, ARI has welcomed about 30 participants every year, regardless of their religious background, and has produced over 1500 graduates from 61 countries.

The various practices and diverse stories of our graduates are the treasures of our 50 years.
ARI’s motto, “That We May Live Together,” has contributed to building just and peaceful societies through our graduates in many parts of the world.

We are not only a place to acquire agricultural knowledge and skills but also a valuable school that provides “knowledge” and “experience” for living together.

ARI is a community where we encourage reflection on how we live our lives.
In assuming the new position as chairperson, I hope to carry on the will of my predecessor, Rev. Hoshino.

I will do my utmost to enhance the training programs further and strengthen the organization’s financial base. I want to ask for your support and prayers.

Biography of Toshimasa Yamamoto
He has served as a professor, chaplain at the School of Commerce and Dean of Chaplains at Kwansei Gakuin University.

He also served as the General Secretary of the National Christian Council in Japan(NCC – J).

He is currently the senior pastor of Logos Church of the United Church of Christ in Japan and serve as a Board of Director of the Japan Committee of the World Conference on Religions and Peace. His publications include “History of the Ecumenical Movement in Asian” (Shinkyo Publishing Co., Ltd.)

Notice of suspension towards acceptance of working visitors

Thank you for your support to ARI.

The 2022 overseas participants have been unable to come to Japan because of difficulties towards issuing visas due to the influence of COVID-19.
However, there are some participants who have gotten visas, and will come to Japan one after another from this week.

The number of rooms is limited for new participants to implement infection countermeasures against COVID-19.
Therefore, we have decided to suspend the acceptance of working visitors for a while.

We are really sorry for those who were looking forward to visiting ARI.

Acceptance is scheduled to resume after September 2022. We will inform as soon as it becomes available, so please check our website and SNS frequently, or contact us.

We will continue to accept for day-trip visitors and group visits as before.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Harvest Thanksgiving Celebration

Watch all our online events again! ​

Open for Visits

Join the ARI life with family and friends!

Volunteer with us!

We're looking for on-campus volunteers


On Facebook


Where do you like to donate from?