The story follows a man whose son went to Japan to teach English, and is killed there in a traffic accident. The son was a painter, and the man decides that he wants to bring all his son's paintings back to the States. He's told to do this he has to go to Japan personally to ask everyone who has the paintings to return them to him. He does this, but reluctantly: he has a deep hatred of Japan because of WWII.
The story is subtly told, and well constructed. Pieces that seem just to be background or atmospheric turn out to be significant once the context is fully understood. It moves through humor, sorrow, hatred to genuinely heartwarming moments to a satisfying conclusion. The acting is beautiful, and very true to life. A lot of the story -- and particularly at the beginning -- is told through the characters' reactions to one another. And the cinematography is excellent, managing to be both beautiful and to carry subtle meaning.
All in all, I highly recommend this film. Catch it if you can!