Having lived in Miami all my life, I am surprised that I never went to visit Morikami Museum in Delray Beach. This 16 acre property in operation for over 30 years is a center for Japanese arts and culture in South Florida. It encompasses six diverse gardens inspired by a different historical period and style of Japanese gardening.
I was invited as part of a small media group to view this special place. We got a private tour with Thomas Gregersen, who is the Cultural Director of Morikami. He has been working there almost as long as Morikami has been in existence. Luckily as we were strolling down the zen gardens as my eye captured these images I am not accustomed to seeing in South Florida, I got some great video clips of Mr. Gregerson explaining some of the meaning behind the gardens.
Hearing him speak of the vast symbolisms not only transported me in time, but made me appreciate the Japanese meaning of finding transcendence in simplicity and totally impressed by the historical knowledge that Mr Gregerson shared with us.
The expectation is that a visitor will respond to the gardens in an emotional rather than an intellectual manner. A special object called “The Wisdom Ring was given to Morikame Museum from the City of Miyazu, Delray Beach’s sister city and birthplace of George Morikami. It is a replica of a 500 year old stone lanterna. the original one stands at a temple dedicated to the Buddhist deity of wisom, Monju. This replica was donated by the citizens of Miyazu to commemorate the museum’s 20th anniversary in 1997.
Ten years after completing a major garden expansion and renovation, Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the opening of Roji-en: Gardens of the Drops of Dew. As part of the celebration, the gardens will be open to the public on Monday, January 24th from 10am-5pm with free admission.
Hoichi Kurisu, the garden’s designer said that when he visited the property, he saw the potential.
I wanted people to have an experience where they connected to nature in addition to sensing with their eyes what it looked like. giving people the opportunity to touch boulders, lean on pine trees and walk over a bridge which in Japanese culture means you are leaving your pasts and agonies behind.”
So now that we are starting a new year, this is a great place to take a day of zen and envision something beautiful. But you have to experience it and feel it first.
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is located at 4000 Morikami Park Road in Delray Beach, Florida. for more information about the Morikami, it’s exhibitions, programs and events, visit www.morikami.org or call 561-495-0233.