Bob Harris, an aging American movie star, arrives in Tokyo to film an advertisement for Suntory whiskey. Charlotte, a young college graduate, sits bored in her hotel room while her husband John, a celebrity photographer, is on assignment in Tokyo. Charlotte is unsure of her future with John, feeling detached from his lifestyle and disillusioned about their relationship. Bob’s 25-year marriage is also strained as he goes through a midlife crisis.
Each day, Bob and Charlotte encounter each other in the hotel and after both experience insomnia, they sit and chat at the hotel bar one night. Eventually, Charlotte invites Bob to meet with some local friends of hers. The two bond through a fun night in Tokyo with Charlotte’s friends, experiencing Japanese nightlife and culture. In the days that follow, Bob and Charlotte’s friendship develops as they spend more time together. One night, each unable to sleep, the two share an intimate conversation about Charlotte’s personal troubles and Bob’s married life.
On the penultimate night of his stay, Bob sleeps with the hotel bar’s female jazz singer. The next morning Charlotte arrives at his room to invite him for lunch and overhears the woman in his room, leading to a difficult lunch. Later that night, outside the hotel during a fire alarm, Bob and Charlotte reconcile and express how they will miss each other as they make a final visit to the hotel bar.
The following morning, Bob is set to return to the United States. He tells Charlotte goodbye at the hotel lobby and sadly watches her walk back to the elevator. In a taxi to the airport, Bob sees Charlotte on a crowded street, leaves the car and walks to her. He embraces the tearful Charlotte and whispers something in her ear. The two share a brief kiss, say goodbye and Bob departs.