Nara prefecture is part of the Kansai, about 3 hours from Tokyo station to Kintetsu Nara Station. Many historic temples and shrines exist in Nara, and some of them are World Heritage sites.
So, Nara is popular sightseeing place for foreigners.
Kyoto is also good spot you can experience Japanese culture, but I’d like to recommend Nara to parents with kid.
Because Nara has many fun places, and it’s less crowded than Kyoto.
TODAI-JI TEMPLE in NARA PARK
If you visit Nara, I highly recommend you go to Todai-ji Temple.
There is a huge bronze statue of Buddha it arouse child’s curiosity.
And you can see a herd of deer in Nara park. It’s very interesting experience you can’t do anywhere else, though we have to be careful of deer’s droppings.
Address：406-1 Zoshicho, Nara, 630-8211
By train：20 minutes walk from Kintetsu Nara Station
By bus： From Kintetsu Nara Station, take the Nara Kotsu city loop bus and get off at Daibutsuden Kasuga-taisha mae. It is about 5 minutes walk from there.
By car：10 minutes from Kintetsu Nara Station. Many parking lots are present around Nara Park.
Naramachi is the area you can enjoy traditional merchant buildings, and there are many awesome shops.
I especially recommend you to try Wagashi(traditional Japanese sweets) there. It’s commonly made of rice cake and azuki bean paste.
My favorite Wagashi is Sakuramochi(rice cake and azuki bean paste are wrapped in a cherry blossom leaf, you can also eat this pickled leaf). Please try it at Japanese sweets shops in Naramachi.
Access info：About 10 minutes walk from Kintetsu Nara Station. Also, it’s easy to access by car because there are many parking lots.
There are many good restaurants around Nara park and Naramachi. So, it might be difficult to decide which place to go.
In my opinion, Restaurant Miyama is good for family with baby or toddler. Because there are nursing room(You can change your baby’s diaper here too.) and kid chairs.
Of course, the food is also great. You can enjoy a lot of Japanese traditional food and Nara specialty. And they have kid’s menu.
The whole restaurant is non-smoking.
Address：11 Kasuganocho, Nara, 630-8212
Access info：20 minutes walk from Kintetsu Nara Station, this Restaurant is great access to Nara park area.( close to Todaiji-temple)
Website：http://www.wafu-miyama.com/（This restaurant doesn’t have English website.）
When our baby was 7 months, we stayed at Sarusawaike Yoshidaya. It’s a traditional Japanese Inn(“Ryokan” in Japanese).
This place is family-friendly, and they offer family baths with a view of the Five-Storied Pagoda of Kohfukuji Temple.
Address：246 Takabatakecho, Nara, 630-8301
Access info：About 10 minutes walk from Kintetsu Nara Station. Also, it’s easy to access by car because there are many parking lots. （close to NARAMACHI）
Website：http://www.nara-yoshidaya.co.jp/（This hotel doesn’t have English website. Please use your favorite booking site, if you’d like to book.）
In addition to Yoshidaya, there are plenty of great traditional Japanese Inn and hotels.
For example, Nara Hotel is awesome place that you can enjoy the traditional Japanese atmosphere. Also, you can choose western style hotels.
We’ve been to Nara 3 times with our son, because my mother lives there.
The first time, my son was 7 months. The second time, he was 10 months. And the last time, he was 1 year and 2 months.
In conclusion, the last one was most fun. Because my son also enjoyed interesting view of Nara.
Could you get helpful information about Nara? Please feel free to comment or contact me if you have any question.