Her father was Kunio Kishida, a playwright and the founder of the Bungaku-za. She became an actress in 1950, and starred in a Yukio Mishima production of Salome (1960). Her film and television drama credits number in the hundreds. Among them are four Taiga drama series on NHK television, with roles such as Aguri (the wife of Asano Naganori and Yodo-Dono (the wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi). She appeared in various roles, including acting and narrating, in various Ōoku series on television. In the series Gokenin Zankurō, she portrayed the mother of the title character (played by Ken Watanabe), and narrated a Lone Wolf and Cub television series.
Kishida's film credits include Yasujiro Ozu's An Autumn Afternoon (1962), The Broken Commandment (based on a novel by Shimazaki Toson), Hiroshi Teshigahara's The Woman in the Dunes (1964) and The Face of Another (1966) (both from novels by Kōbō Abe), Kon Ichikawa's The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter (1987), based on the classic story, Heaven and Earth (1990), and Spring Snow, the 2005 Isao Yukisada adaptation of the Mishima novel.
Anime fans know Kishida as the voice of Moomin in the original 1960s television series. She provided narration for Vampire Princess Miyu and Princess Tutu as well as the 2005 Book of the Dead. In addition, she dubbed roles for Columbo and Miss Marple, and narrated Prophecies of Nostradamus. Kishida appeared in commercials for Nestle, TDK, and Asahi Shimbun.