Hi there! This is Sachi at Visit Japan with Kids.
Today, I would like to in invite you to Nara, the most ancient city in Japan.
“The perfect day trip to Nara with Kids”
As I just visited Nara with my 3-year-old daughter last week and had a such a great time.
It was so fortunate that we were able to visit Nara in such a fine autumn day.
Nara is Japan’s first permanent capital that was established in the year 710 that located around about one hour from Kyoto and Osaka.
This ancient city remains full of historic treasures, including some of Japan’s oldest and largest temples.
First things first!!
Todaiji is the most famous temple in Japan known as world heritage. This temple was constructed in 752 as the head of all provincial Buddhist temples of Japan.
Todaiji’s main hall, the Daibutsuden (Big Buddha Hall) is the world’s largest wooden building, despite the fact that the present reconstruction of 1692 is only two-thirds of the original temple hall’s size.
The massive building houses one of Japan’s largest bronze statues of the Great Buddha (Daibutsu). The 15 meters tall, seated Buddha represents Vairocana and is flanked by two Bodhisattvas.
Length of head 5.33m 17.39ft.
Length of Eye 1.02m 3.34ft.
Length of Ear 2.54m 8.33ft.
A Lifetime Experience for Kids!!!
There is a pillar in the great hall with a small hole at its base. This tiny tunnel is as large as one of the nostrils on the giant Buddha(Daibutsu) statue sitting under the same roof.
Anyone who manages to squeeze through that is believed to be granted enlightenment in his next life.
There is always a long line of visitors from around the world continue to get down on all fours to seek the wisdom of the Buddha’s nose hole! Never one to pass up a challenge!
It takes about 10-15 min to get to the Great Buddha from the gate and you need to survive from deers begging for the Deer Crackers. The road is bit bumpy because its partly stone paved road, so you need to take it slow if you are pushing a stroller or walking with small children.
We needed little tea brake at the Todaiji Temple before we head back since my daughter had enough of walking. We went into the Todaiji Museum(Culture Center) Cafe right by the Temple. After all, the cafe was nice hideaway place as it was not crowded at all even though outside around the temple is packed with tourists.
My daughter is having a children’s favorite…..Ice cream of course. I ordered Matcha Latte and their Homemade Azuki Bun(Manjyu). It was sooooo good. Perfect place to chill and unwind with kids.
I recommend to have a little break there especially when you need to go to the toilet, there are clean toilet facilities in the building.
Walking towards Naramachi(Nara Old Town)
Walking through Nara Deer Park and Kofukuji Temple towards Naramachi(Nara Old Town) is just another extraordinary experience that makes you want to take many pictures of those breathtaking ancient monuments.
Lunch Break on the way….
For a light lunch, we stop at the restaurant called ” Cafe Drink Drunk”.
What unique about this restaurant is that they only use carefully selected local fruits and vegetables in Nara. They are also specialized in fresh fruits smoothies such as persimmon smoothy, Pear smoothy, freshly squeezed lemon squash and much more.
A free bowl of rice are offered for children!! We had a nice shared lunch!
Image source: drinkdrank.com
At Naramachi(Nara Old Town), you can find many little traditional shops, cafes, and restaurants as well as small museums admission free to visit.
Naramachi Toy Museum is very small but cosy place to be. I often visit here with my 9-year-old and 3 years old, they both enjoy every time.
What great thing about this place is that children can actually touch and play with the old traditional Japanese toys at an old tradesmen’s house.
These toys were designed during the Edo period(1603-1868) and made from a combination of wood, bamboo, handmade Japanese paper and other natural materials.
These natural, very simple but clever toys catch kid’s heart!!
As I mentioned, there are tons of little shops, cafes and museums in Naramachi you would definitely enjoy, so one day is probably not enough but this was our perfect day trip to Nara!!
Please share your perfect day in Nara when you visit!!
If you would like to check out great day out spot in Osaka Area,
please read this post “How to Experience Blissful Moment in Japan with Less Tourist Crowd”
(Approximately 30 min walk total)
Zoshi-cho 406-1 Nara 630-8587
Tel: 0742 22 5511a
Hours:Nov-Feb: 8:00-16:30 Mar:8:00-17:00 April-Sep:7:30-17-30 Oct:7:30-17:00
OPEN all year round
Admission: Adult:500 Yen, Primary school:300yen
Cafe at Todaiji Museum (Culture Center)
100 Suimon-cho, Nara
Hours:9:30-Untill museum closes
Cafe Drink Drunk
8 Hashimoto-cho, Nara 630-8217
Hours:11:00~19:30(19:00Winter time) closed on Wednesday.
Naramachi Toy Museum
7 Inyo-cho, Nara 630-8338
Tel: 0742 26 5656
Hours: 9:00-17:00 closed on Wednesday.