Saturday, October 16, 2010
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, Delray Beach, Florida
Actually, this museum started out as a Japanese farming community in 1904. It was begun by Jo Sakai, who, after graduating NYU, returned to his hometown in Japan where he lead a group of 30 to 35 young Japanese farmers to what is now northern Boca Raton. They named their farming colony Yamato, which was an ancient name for Japan.
By the 1920's, the Yamato Colony, whose population had not grown, was falling short of their goals. Their crop experimentation all but failed and one by one, they left. One settler did remain, however, and that was George Sukeji Morikami, who continued on here as a fruit and vegetable wholesaler. Mr. Morikami donated the land to Palm Beach County in the mid-1970's when he was in his 80's. He wanted to preserve the the memory of the those 35 young pioneers.
In 1977, the museum opened with the original building, the Yamato-kan being used for revolving exhibits.There is a beautiful bonsai exhibit right next to the Yamato-kan, which is styled as a Japanese villa. When you visit the building, you have to remove your shoes and tour the house with the paper slippers that the staff gives you. It's one experience you never forget.
In 1993, the Morikami open its a new museum building, which is where I am sitting. This building contains a more than 7,000 Japanese art objects and artifacts, a theater, an authentic tea house, a library, classrooms, a wonderful museum gift shop and a cafe that serves great authentic Japanese food that overlooks the gardens.
In 2001, the Morikami expanded again, this time creating six different garden sites which represent changes in Japanese garden design over 1,000 years of Japanese history. Each garden is different and lovely and worth the walk through, at least once.
The picture above and below is what you see as you enter from the parking lot. This is the main entrance to the new museum building and the gift shop. Every time Susan and Rob visited Florida each year, they would stop in here and buy souvenirs for everyone back in NY. The cafe serves sushi and wonderful barley rice tea.
here are some helpful links that I found on youtube that will explain more about the Morikami Museum
these show you some of the gardens and some of the activities and exhibits that are a part of this beautiful and ever changing museum.
this link on Youtube tells the history and shows you some of the beautiful gardens, describes their ever changing exhibits, takes you through their library, gift shop and cafe. Enjoy !