Morikami celebrates the connection between Japan and South Florida. Little did I know that in the early 1900s, Japanese farmers arrived in southern Florida and formed an agricultural colony called Yamato, an ancient name for Japan. Most of those farmers returned to Japan but one of the remaining settlers George Sukeji Morikami donated his land to Palm Beach County as a park to preserve the memory of the Yamato Colony.
The garden consists of 16 acres of authentic Japanese gardens and art exhibits. There is even an authentic tea house and don’t miss Hotei, their resident god of happiness.
This remains the only museum dedicated to Japanese living culture and the gardens are among the finest outside of Japan. So let’s begin our walking tour:
As you exit the main building you are immediately in front of the Wisdom Ring (Chie no Wa) which is a replica of a 500 year old stone lantern, a symbol of Delray Beach’s sister city in Japan.
Next up cross the Memorial Bridge marking the entrance to the gardens and symbolizing the link between Japan and Florida.
Follow the path to the Shinden Garden which recreates the 9th – 12th century Heian Period that featured lakes and islands and emphasized informality always with an appreciation of nature and often meant to be viewed from the water.
The “Ancient Gate” (Kodai-mon) was inspired by the large mansions of samurai leaders from 1600 – 1868. Walking through this area of the garden you pass through a Bamboo Grove and the lovely sound of the bamboo stalks knocking against each other as the breeze blows. It was a lovely, musical sound and I am sorry I didn’t do a video for you to hear the clinking of the stalks.
The Paradise Garden or Buddhist heaven was meant for casual exploration.
I need one of these! The Shishi Odoshi or “Deer Chaser” is a swinging bamboo arm that collects water and then strikes a rock basin below and startles the animals who shouldn’t be there!!!!! I am definitely creating one of these in my garden!
The Karesansui, Late Rock Garden which means dry landscape consists of rocks not plants and features a bed of raked gravel.
Continue on through the Modern Romantic Garden as inspired by the late 19th – 20th century gardens with its very naturalistic setting which leads you to the Contemplation Pavilion. No real view to speak of from here but every twist and turn of the path through this garden affords some incredible views.
The South Gate is the exit from the historical gardens in contrast with the Ancient Gate.
Yamato Island is the site of the original Morikami Museum and the island represents a modern garden emphasizing the relationship between interior and exterior spaces. The Bonsai Collection of trees are housed here. A unique collection of Bonsai for sure!
The tour ends at the Morikami Falls a dramatic and powerful waterfall set among massive boulders signaling the end of your journey thru the garden or maybe you are ready to take another walk around so see what you might have missed the first time!!!
These six gardens are inspired by the famous gardens of Japan and encourage you to find peace in the environment and within one’s self. So if even just for a little while leave the outside world behind and just be one with nature. Visit a garden today!!!