Hatsuko Umabuchi is a widow who runs a prosperous geisha house in present day Kyoto. Her daughter Yukiko returns from Tokyo following a failed suicide attempt, after her lover found out about her mother's profession. Hatsuko is having a discrete affair with the young Dr. Matoba, who looks after the geisha girls. The doctor is attracted to Yukiko, who initially despises him and everything connected with the geisha house. However Yukiko gradually changes her views.