The Sōtō school was brought to Japan from China by Dōgen Kigen (1200–53). Doctrinally, the Sōtō and Rinzai schools maintain quite similar interpretations of Buddhism. The major areas of difference between them occur in the matter of practice. Whereas Rinzai Zen teaches kanna zen (‘kōan introspection’), emphasizing ‘seated meditation’ (zazen) focused on a kōan in order to achieve a first enlightenment experience (kenshō), the Sōtō school refers to itself as mokushō zen, ‘silent illumination Zen’, because of its sparing use of the kōan and its identification of zazen itself with enlightenment (shikan taza, ‘zazen only’).
In Japan, the history of Sōtō is bound up with the two major monasteries, Eihei-ji and Sōjiji.
"Sōtō Shū." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/soto-shu
"Sōtō Shū." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. . Retrieved August 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/soto-shu