Only Yesterday

Studio Ghibli's 1991 release, from the director of The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and Grave of the Fireflies. It’s 1982, and Taeko is 27-years-old, unmarried, and lived her whole life in Tokyo. She decides to visit her relatives in the countryside, and as the train travels through the night, memories flood back of her younger years: the first immature stirrings of romance, the onset of puberty, and the frustrations of math and boys.

At the station she is met by young farmer Toshio, and the encounters with him begin to reconnect her to forgotten longings. In lyrical switches between the present and the past, Taeko contemplates the arc of her life, and wonders if she has been true to the dreams of her childhood self.



Directed by

Written by


Studio Ghibli

Animated, Kids & Family, World Cinema


Rating: PG Adult themes


Los Angeles Times


The story of a young woman who moves back and forth between childhood memories and the dilemmas of her current life, "Only Yesterday" is a realistic, personal story made universal in a delicate way.

New York Times


Takahata's psychologically acute film, which was based on a manga, seems to grow in impact ... as the adult Takao comes to a richer understanding of what she wants and how she wants to live.

Rolling Stone (USA)


Isao Takahata's film is an animation miracle so subtle that it doesn't fully hit you till you take it home and into your dreams.

AV Club (USA)


Can sometimes seem a little too random in what it chooses to show, but it has a cumulative power as Taeko comes to understand that the past that shaped her needn't define her.

Delicate and Visually Stunning

Takahata's small masterpiece of a struggle to be human. A young woman folded into herself by a modest life meets her 8 year old self as she travels to the amazing beauty and simplicity Japanese countryside. It will touch your heart and make you laugh. A treasure.