During the early 1600′s Japan had a strict prohibition against Christianity and came down hard against those even suspected of worshiping Jesus. In an effort to prove that they were not Christian, the Buddhist Chinese residents in Nagasaki built several temples. Kofukuji was the first and so dates it as the oldest Obaku sect Chinese temple in Japan.
Also, as interesting side-note, the temple houses the two oldest authentic Chinese Min dynasty fish-shaped, carved wooden drums in Japan. This was not an honor I was aware existed before touring Kofukuji’s ground and listening to Lori’s expert summary of the free English information available at the ticket counter.