The Japanese countryside is teeming with stories of communities in decline, but few are as sobering as that of Kawakami. Once home to more than 8,000 people, the village in southeastern Nara Prefecture now has a population of just over 1,000, the majority of them senior citizens.

In a nationwide survey conducted in 2018, Kawakami earned the dubious distinction of being the place in Japan likely to see the most dramatic shrinkage during the coming decades. Good luck to the local tourist board trying to put a rosy spin on that statistic.

This is the setting for Daichi Murase’s “Beyond the Fog,” a slender and beautifully crafted mood piece that’s too dreamy to be a straightforward downer. It centers on the struggles of a family-run ryokan (traditional inn) to stay afloat, as reflected in the watchful gaze of the proprietor’s 12-year-old daughter.