Rural Leaders Training Program

The Rural Leaders Training Program provides a transformative learning experience that helps rural leaders create actions and values based on our motto, “That We May Live Together.”  

 Through ARI’s unique methods and community, the 9-month program empowers participants to develop the mindset and resources to solve the many challenges of their rural communities. 

well-rounded curriculum

international group of participants

integrated farm & campus

9 months across
4 seasons

The Method

Participants learn through classroom sessions, hands-on practice, and observation trips.

Learner-Centered Classroom

Experts from different fields share their knowledge and discuss with participants in classroom sessions. Participants become independent learners who think critically and learn to ask questions that are relevant to their home community. 

From beginning to end, ARI’s teaching staff monitor the participants’ performances in personal and group-based reviews, analysis, and reporting to ensure that they achieve their study goals. Personal consultants facilitate reflection and support writing assignments to support participants’ growth.

Learning by Doing

We emphasize daily hands-on practice so that participants acquire and sustain new skills.   

In Practical Field Study (PFS) classes, for instance, participants practice a variety of agricultural techniques like fertilizer production and fermented feed mixing.

During Foodlife Management Activity (FMA), they combine leadership and agricultural skills. By managing the fields and livestock and by observing, discussing, and planning the community’s work they take responsibility in providing healthy produce for the whole community.

Observation & Study Tours

All over Japan, participants meet farmers, activists, and educators who are part of ARI’s educational network. Several short observation trips and two long study tours broaden the participants’ horizons. 

During the Rural Community Study Tour, for example, participants meet local organic farmers and learn about their marketing and community organizing first-hand. Another study tour to west Japan provides insights into social issues such as healthcare, discrimination, and urbanization. 

By getting to know people’s lives in Japan, participants reflect on what is truly essential for development and happiness in their own countries.

The People

Always ready to learn, always ready to give—
in our Community of Learning, we share our knowledge with others.

Kindred Spirits

The participants form a highly multi-cultural and multi-ethnic group of eager learners from villages across the globe. Learning from and appreciating each others' unique assets is a crucial part of the study.

Dedicated Faculty

ARI's core faculty has experience working and teaching overseas and in Japan. They are always willing to support participants' learning. We also invite many experts for special lectures and activities.

Face to Face with Supporters

Participants interact with ARI's Supporters on a daily basis: Volunteers share the daily life and work, others open their houses for fellowship programs. This network of mutual trust creates more learning opportunities.

The Place

ARI’s campus is like a tiny village: sitting on a hill in the countryside of Nasu region,
it is a space for study and farming, but also a home away from home . 

Organic Farm

Participants manage and work on ARI's organic farm. Together with staff and volunteers, they produce crops, vegetables, and livestock products on 6 hectares (15 acres) of land.

We grow about 90 varieties of crops and vegetables, as well as livestock animals. Equipped with light farm machinery and tools, it is the ideal ground to experience techniques that are in harmony with the environment and human health.

Classrooms & Library

Participants make full use of ARI's simple classrooms, conference rooms, and computer rooms. A library of books and periodicals on topics such as agriculture, development issues, gender, society and more supports their learning.


Participants stay in dormitories on the ARI campus. Everyone shares a room with a person from another country.

Oikos Chapel

A place for the whole community to meditate and reflect. This is where the daily "Morning Gathering" happens: a time of sharing our stories with community members.

Build, Relax, Play, and Eat

Our campus has many more facilities for participants to expand their skills, create technology, connect with others or find rest.

ARI is located within Nasushiobara, a provincial city about 160 km north of Tokyo. The region is known for its beautiful mountains, hot springs, and dairy products.

Nasushiobara is a typical Japanese provincial city (120,000 people), with fields, houses, and industry spread out across a plain. Near the campus are supermarkets, hot springs, and restaurants.

Get Leadership Training

Do you want to send a member from your organization to our training? Our program can greatly enhance the capacities of your key leaders.

We will help you on every step of the process.

our Students

Our students come from the most marginalized communities on earth. They need financial support to come to Japan and take part in the Rural Leaders Training Program.

Your assistance can help rural communities for decades to come.

Download the
School Guide

School Guide

A great overview of ARI and our Rural Leaders Training Program.

Training Costs
& Financing

The fees and expenses for the Rural Leaders Training Program are US$ 17,850. 

International airfare varies for each person and can cost between US$ 1,500 and $3,500. 

In total, training one rural leader costs around US$ 20,450.

For inquires about the training program, contact our Admissions Coordinator:

US$ 20450
average total cost
US$ 100
Sending Body registration fee
US$ 17850
training cost
Personal Allowance$ 1,450
Health Insurance$ 600
Board (food)$ 2,700
Room (lodging)$ 2,700
Admission fee$ 800
Field trips & observation tours$ 2,600
Tuition$ 7,000
US$ 2500
average roundtrip airfare
from/to Africa~ $ 3,500
from/to Oceania~ $ 2,500
from/to Asia~ $ 1,500

“ARI’s image of a leader is someone who—from his/her own free accord—sheds sweat together with grassroots people who are the foundation of society, and who produces the food that supports life and works in a concrete ways to fairly share that food.

It is a person who gives an unceasing effort so that all people and all beings can use their unique qualities for each other, and as much as possible extend their hidden spirituality and possibilities, and who is indispensable in building a vivid society.”

Rev. Dr. Toshihiro Takami, founder of ARI