Sōami was the grandson and son of the painters and art connoisseurs Nōami and Geiami, respectively. He was in the service of the Ashikaga shogunate who is claimed to have designed the rock garden of the Ginkaku-ji.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, Sōami's paintings were in the style of China's Southern School; some of his greatest pieces covered over twenty panels, and depicted Japanese landscapes using Chinese methods. His work was among the first nanga or Southern School work in Japan. Sōami is most known for his (at Archive.org).