He returned to Japan in 1241 and settled for a time in northern Kyushu, residing at Sufuku-ji and Shoten-ji and working to spread Zen teachings.
He became known to Regent Kujo Michiie, who invited him to Kyoto in 1243. There he founded a temple called Tofuku-ji at the place on Higashiyama where Michiie’s country villa was situated. He was on intimate terms with members of the court and administered Buddhist vows to the retired emperors Gosaga, Gofukakusa, and Kameyama. He also visited Kamakura and counted the statesman Hojo Tokiyori among his converts.
He had many close relations with the older sects of Buddhism and at one time held the office of daikanjin in Todai-ji in Nara.
He first studied the doctrines of Tendai and other older sects of Buddhism but later undertook,Zen training under Eicho and Gyoyo. He went to China in 1235 and traveled about from region to region visiting various Zen masters. He spent a lengthy period studying under Wu-chu Shih-fan of Ching-shan, in time becoming his Dharina heir.
His thinking represents an amalgamation of Zen and the doctrines of the older sects, and it is clear that he did not, like some Zen leaders, feel any antagonism toward such sects. His teaching line, known as the Shoichi-ha, for a time flourished greatly. His most important disciples were Tozan Tansho, Mukan Fumon, Hakuun Egyo, and Muju Dogyo.