A group of Japanese tourists in India converge at Varanasi on the Ganges. Each is searching for some meaning to their life.
Isobe has lost his wife to cancer after 35 years of marriage, a period during which he largely ignored her, and has difficulty in coming to terms with the grief that he is now feeling.
Kiguchi is tormented by his memories of the war, these take on a new aspect after having found out the full extent of the sacrifice that his friend (who dies from cirrhosis) had undergone to save them both while on the "Highway of death" in Burma.
Numada, a writer of children's stories, is recovering from critical illness and diverse operations and has spent two years hospitalized.
Mitsuko who behind her caring facade during her volunteer work in hospital is a cynical woman who is completely incapable of loving others and feels an inner emptiness.
Otsu who in the past has been the butt of Mitsuko's cruel interest is a catholic seminarian whose vision of christianity is not in line with the Church.
Each arrives at an answer or action that brings them peace of mind.
We also meet the Sanjos, a newly wed couple who are completely disinterested in the society that surrounds them in India, and the disillusioned guide Enami who accompanies the group of Japanese.