Miho's backyard had always been the sea. The creatures within it were an endless source of fascination. But when the sea steals away her small family, she finds herself the ward of an uncle she has never met and submerged in a world she has never known: Japan. From the city of Nagoya to the seaside town of Goza, Miho struggles to fit in and navigate the language, the culture and her own grief. It is in Goza that she discovers her surprising family history and finds new teachers.
She is befriended by an old man who becomes her Sensei and teaches her Sho-do, The Way of the Brush. And it is there she meets Gaia, the living entity of the Earth. Gaia grants her amazing powers to connect with the "minds in the water" and Miho is given access and understanding to all the world's oceans. Will she be able to use her powers to help balance the traditions of the past with the demands of the present? Can she overcome her outsider status to help others understand The Way of Water?