Half day in Nara with a toddler


After spending 3 days in Osaka with our 2Y7M daughter in October 2023, we traveled to Nara for half a day before heading to Kyoto for the last 3 days of the trip. Compared to our last time in Nara almost 4 years ago, we skipped the longer walk/hike and the souvenir streets so that she could nap after lunch and before the train to Kyoto.

Traveling from Osaka

From our apartment hotel near Ebisucho station in Osaka, we took the metro to Nipponbashi and then transferred to the Kintetsu train to Nara. The seats were metro style and the train was pretty crowded on a Saturday at 9 AM. For luggage storage in Nara, we got two big coin lockers outside the elevator and before the exit near the Ciao Presso cafe. The lockers outside the station were 100 yen cheaper, but no guarantee of availability. We were originally afraid of not getting bigger lockers on a weekend morning, but there were quite a few available.

Deer encounter in Nara

As soon as we walked up a few minutes from the Nara train station, we started seeing deer on the sidewalk and any grass area with senbei (snacks for deer) vendors along the way. Our daughter was cautious but curious, taking her time observing the wild deer and approaching them slowly. The deer were mostly about the same height as her, most didn’t have the antlers but few of them still did. The deer weren’t aggressive unless I had senbei at hand, they swarmed up to me once I held one in my hand and one busted into me. We decided to have our daughter stay in the stroller while I distributed the senbei for her safety.

Nara, Japan

Lunch at Naraya

We considered a popular udon place at Mentouan, but went with Naraya in the plaza to avoid a potential long wait time. The staff was friendly and they had high chairs, self-serve utensils, and water. We shared a kamameshi set and an udon as our daughter loved noodles. The sets also came with a dessert.

Nara, Japan

Traveling to Kyoto

After lunch, we wheeled the stroller back to the Nara Kintetsu station when she fell asleep. Near the luggage lockers, we had a coffee break at the Ciao Presso Cafe (no WiFi). After checking Google Maps, we booked reserved seats for a train to Kyoto that was faster and slightly more expensive with all seats reserved.

Cafe Ciao Presso at Nara station


We enjoyed the experience of being surrounded by deer in Nara, with wide sidewalks, green spaces, and temples within walking distance. All the places we went were very stroller friendly and our daughter was also able to run around safely. When she is bigger, I look forward to taking her back to go on more hikes and she can share the senbei herself. I’m sure the deer would love for her to go back as well.

Nara, Japan

Here is the full itinerary and lists of places that we considered for our Kansai trip, including Osaka and Kyoto:

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