Perfect Days (2023) – Review and Summary

Hirayama (Koji Yakusho) and Niko (Arisa Nakano)

“Perfect Days” spends nearly an entire hour testing its viewers loyalty, and once it makes an effort to get interesting, it doesn’t compensate for lost time as some may wish it had.

“Perfect Days” General Information

Director(s) Wim Wenders
Screenplay By Takuma Takasaki, Wim Wenders
Based On N/A
Date Released (Film Festival – Montclair Film Festival) October 22, 2023
Genre(s) Drama, Non-English (Japanese), Slice of Life
Film Length 2 Hour 3 Minutes
Content Rating Not Rated
Noted Characters and Cast
Hirayama Koji Yakusho
Niko Arisa Nakano
Keiko Yumi Aso

Content Rating Explanation

“Perfect Days” contains:

  • Dialog: Mild Cursing
  • Violence: N/A
  • Sexual Content: Non-Sexual Nudity
  • Miscellaneous: Drinking and Smoking

Film Summary

The content below contains pertinent spoilers. Also, images and text in this post may contain affiliate links. If a purchase is made from those sites, we may earn money or products from the company.

Hirayama is a man dedicated to routine. He wakes up, sprays water on his plants, goes to work cleaning bathrooms throughout Tokyo, and goes to the same places to eat, sometimes get a new book, and repeat. You watch this for nearly an hour until Niko, his niece, arrives and begins to disrupt Hirayama’s routine.

Not with any serious drama, but as her mom Keiko and her relationship with Hirayama comes up, and other people part of Hirayama’s routine show they don’t revolve around him, things shift – potentially for the better.

Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.


Hirayama is a man who, for years, has cleaned local public bathrooms and has learned to enjoy the little things in life. However, what he especially enjoys is his routine.


Niko is Hirayama’s niece whom he has some form of a relationship with. They may not see each other every weekend, but if she ever wants to get away from her mom, she is aware of where Hirayama lives and can feel safe with him.


Keiko is Niko’s mom and Hirayama’s estranged sister, who is doing well for herself based on appearances.


Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)


How Niko’s Appearance Leads To A Subtle Shift In The Movie

Niko’s appearance in the film is sudden, but I cannot understate how welcomed it is. As noted below, “Perfect Days” largely operates on a loop for almost half the movie, with very little to pique your interest. We see Hirayama go to work, sometimes get pestered by his co-worker, and he has the occasional nice interaction. It’s all the kind of things where, if you showed up late to the movie, you wouldn’t have missed a damn thing, for it would happen again within ten minutes.

So when Niko appears and brings up Hirayama’s relationship with her mom, she talks about running away, and it is established that the two have a relationship; after putting its audience through the most tedious and mundane experience for an hour, you are led to believe things are going to pick up. Which they do, but not in some over-the-top way. Keiko doesn’t come in like a hurricane and throws accusations around about Hirayama allowing her daughter to spend days at his home.

No, she knows her kid wanted an escape, and this is the safest place for her to go, and Hirayama likely called her. But, one thing that may frustrate you is that, in terms of the reason why Keiko finds Hirayama an uncomfortable subject isn’t gone into. Never mind Hirayama’s issues with his and Keiko’s father.

Low Points

That First Hour Is Tough To Sit Through

I can not understate that I would have stopped after the first or second loop if this was something I was watching from home and didn’t pay to individually see. Truly, this film takes full advantage of people having to travel to a theater, the fact you already paid a ticket, and that most movies that are dry in the beginning usually pick up after the lead’s routine is established.

This film doesn’t do that. As noted in the highlight, you have to wait an hour for someone to come into Hirayama’s life who seems to matter to him and not just be part of his routine. For with him not close to his junior at work, he doesn’t tell him anything and barely talks to him. So Hirayama spends a good part of the film leading you to question if he is extremely shy, perhaps has trouble speaking, so he is a man of a few words, or something else.

But, the reality is, for an hour, you just watch Hirayama interact with people who he only lets see the superficial. Be it that he is a hard worker, he likes to read, but in terms of flaws or anything negative? They don’t know a thing for her doesn’t let them know him. And, in return, you don’t learn anything until Niko shows up.

Who Is This For?

Those who enjoy slice-of-life dramas that have no thrills, drama, doesn’t try to throw something in the last minute but keep relatively tame.


If you like this movie, we recommend:

  1. Aftersun: A slice-of-life family movie that is as tame as “Perfect Days.”
  2. Just Because!: One of the best slice-of-life productions we have ever seen, and it is an anime to boot

Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations.

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Perfect Days (2023) – Overview


Like sci-fi dramas, slice-of-life films can be a hard sell when there is no romance, only awkward comedy (with niche appeal), and the drama is light because you rarely get to know what is going on beyond the surface. So in the case of “Perfect Days,” honestly, if it just cut at least 30 minutes from the beginning, it would have been better and maybe not test whether its audience would be willing to leave the theater early.

  • How Niko’s Appearance Leads To A Subtle Shift In The Movie - 82%
  • That First Hour Is Tough To Sit Through - 63%
User Review
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  • How Niko’s Appearance Leads To A Subtle Shift In The Movie


  • That First Hour Is Tough To Sit Through

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