Shosei-en is a detached garden of the head temple of the Otani school of the Shin sect (Shinshu Honbyo). It is also called Kikoku-tei, as it is surrounded by trifoliate orange trees.
The Higashi Hongan-ji Temple was founded by the donation of land from Ieyasu Tokugawa (the 1st Shogun) in 1602. Later, Iemitsu Tokugawa (the 3rd Shogun) donated additional land in 1641. The Shosei-en was created in a part of the additional land when Sannyo Shonin, the 13th successor of Higashi Hongan-ji Temple retired in 1653.
In Shosei-en, various banquets were held, inviting not only those who were close to the successors of Higashi Hongan-ji Temple but also core members of the government, and were attended by many guests. Its beauty was described in the writings of many intellectuals, including Sanyo Rai, a famous scholar of Chinese classics, who wrote “Shoseien-ki” in 1827 and praised its 13 best sceneries. Truly this is an exquisite garden retaining an atmosphere of the Edo period.