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Private Tour of Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens

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Last Friday, I was part of a very special group of media folks who were invited for a tour of The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Delray Beach.  I was especially excited because I’d never been there.  This is a grand place!  I felt like I had left South Florida and was really in Japan!  It features 16 acres of gardens, a gallery of ever changing exhibits, a quaint little museum shop, and a cafe that overlooks everything.  It opened in 1977.  This is the only museum in the Southeast United States that is wholly dedicated to the living culture of Japan. 

Our tour was led by the Morikami’s Cultural Director, Thomas Gregersen.  He walked us through the gardens, all surrounding the Morikami Pond.  The walk is about a mile.  Mr Gregerson has worked at the Museum for over 30 years.  The gardens are now celebrating their 10th year.  There are 6 garden areas, flowing together and forcing a normally rushed person into stopping and admiring the beauty of nature.  The gardens’ designer, Hoichi Kurisu, had this to say about the design–

I wanted to have people walk through different periods of Japanese history while feeling the meandering pathways threading everything together.

I’d certainly say that he accomplished that.  One of his biggest challenges was the mostly warm climate here and the fact that certain plants simply couldn’t thrive.  He got creative in his selections, choosing more senstive trees with pinier leaves, like Orange Jasmine. 

While Mr Gregersen’s favorite part is the Late Rock Garden, because “it’s a wonderful spot to sit and reflect,”  I particularly loved the singing bamboo trees in the Shinden Garden.  I found it relaxing, but not too quiet.

I also had the chance to meet and spend time with Vladimir Foursa, a professional nurseyman and the Morikami’s resident bonsai expert.  He told us a lot about the art of bonsai, including the care and creation of the trees.  He is also a wealth of knowledge.

Finally, we arrived back at the Museum building where we knew that lunch was being served to us in the open air Cornell Cafe.  However, I had NO IDEA what kind of lunch and was a bit leery of the Pan-Asian inspired menu.  I was pleasantly surprised when a Bento Box was brought out for each of us.  Bento Boxes are the japanese equivalent of a boxed lunch, except this was QUITE a boxed lunch.  It included rice, chicken teriyaki,salmon teriyaki, asian eggplant, assorted sushi roll pieces and more.  And it was YUMMY!

I would encourage everyone to go check out the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.  They are open 10am-5pm Tuesday through Sunday, closed on Monday.  However,  they are hosting a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the gardens’ opening on next Monday, Jan 24th.  Admission will be free and the entire facility will be open!  Mark your calendars and let me know if you will be there.  I may join you..

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3 Responses to “Private Tour of Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens”

  1. Ria says:

    I’ve never been here either but all my friends have and love it. My one girlfriend also used to work there.

  2. Bridgette Graves says:

    Hey sista Jewel..will add this to my list of cool activities on my next trip! I know it will be all that & a Bento box! Yum…

  3. Adriene Johnson says:

    This looks like a nice place to visit. I would like to visit sometime this year.

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