As a working mother (I work as a student :), I am eligible to send my children to hoikuen, or full day nursery. The kindergarten (yochien) school time is short, from 9 am to 1 pm, so I can not work for long time at school. There is one yochien close to NAIST, Takayama yochien. Hoikuen school time is much longer, from 9 am to 6 pm. We can pick up the children later, but we have to pay additional fee.
There are several (relatively) close hoikuens around NAIST: 1. Kitayamato hoikuen (now merge with Takayama yochien and became Takayama Kodomoen), 2. Pure (pyu-a) hoikuen, 3. Mayumi hoikuen, 4. Shikanodai hoikuen.
Kitayamato hoikuen is located in Takayama-cho, in front of Takayama elementary school (takayama gakko mae). I put Kitayamato hoikuen at the first place because it has a school bus. It very convenient. Especially because the bus passes through NAIST dormitories. I usually go there by bicycle during no-bus period. It takes about 15-20 min ride (I do not have any license), 30 min walk.
Pure hoikuen is close to Aeon mall. We can take bus No. 82 bound for Takanohara, or just go by bicycle (about 15-20 min).
Mayumi hoikuen is close to Gakken kita ikoma station. We can go by bus bound to Gakuenmae station, or again by bicycle if you only have that bike :p The owner of gakken mayumi hoikuen is the same as Kitayamato hoikuen. Kitayamato hoikuen is much older. This school is also has a school bus (I saw a school bus when I went there, but I am not sure if its route also passes NAIST area).
Shikanodai hoikuen is also close from NAIST. But road of closest route was very steep and inconvenient…that is why I put it at the last place :p But we can go there by bus. First, we take bus to Aeon mall (bus No. 82), then change to another bus bound for shikanohatacho.
For a working parent, hoikuen is much better than yochien. And I experiences various exciting events, such as undokai/ sport festival, happyou- kai/children prefomance/show, tomari hoikuen, etc.
The tuition fee will depend on your income. If you have no income, do not worry, you will just pay a couple thousand yen. But we still have to pay for the school bus (3000 yen), monthly book, and snacks.
As for April 2018, Kitayamato hoikuen and Takayama yochien has been merged as Takayama Kodomoen. It has a new building, replacing the Takayama elementary school (shogakkou). Basically, the kids originate from yochien and hoikuen, mix in the morning class. In the afternoon, hoikuen kids will take a nap, whereas yochien kids get ready to return home. The school also starts providing halal lunch for muslim kids from May.