Higashide Kyoko is a university librarian. She also helps her parents with their drycleaning company. She is involved with a childhood friend from the neighborhood, Yanase Kota. He is the son of the local tofu maker and has begun a moderately successful career as a stand-up comedian. A visiting lecturer from Tokyo falls head-over-heels in love with Kyoko and asks her to go abroad with him to Beijing, where he has to spend the next few years for his research. But Kyoko cannot decide.
Yamada Yoji and his co-director Abe Tsutomu have set their story in Uzumasa, one of the oldest parts of Kyoto. This is where the famous film studios, in which Kurosawa's "Rashomon" and Mizoguchi's "Ugetsu monogatari" came about, are located. There is a shopping street that links the university and the studios. Yamada has involved the business owners and the students in his film project. They play themselves, as soon becomes clear in interviews. "Kyoto Story" tells a love story, which questions the perpetuation of traditions. But most of all, the film is a declaration of love to this city.