I’ve been wanting to visit the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens for quite a while. It’s 16 acres of Japanese gardens including a lake with koi. While you’re there you can explore the 200-acre park the garden is located in where you can walk a nature trail or picnic.

We’ve visited a lot of botanical gardens in Florida, and most of them have a Japanese garden area in them, but that’s just not the same. Besides the obvious difference in focus, there is one large difference that I noticed and then saw an explanation of on the way out. Because this is not a botanical garden there isn’t any signage in the gardens labeling the different plants. The reason they give for this is these gardens are meant to be restorative and they don’t want potential distractions. It is an interesting distinction and one that took me a little bit of getting used to. Once I stopped looking for labels I began looking at things more as a whole instead of picking out individual plants. At least in theory. I can’t help wanting to know what everything is.   🙂

This is another one of those places where you want to grab a visitor’s guide on your way in. While they don’t label individual plants, they do give you an opportunity to read about the different areas and objects in the gardens. There are numbered signs throughout the gardens and the guide tells you information at each point. The guide isn’t meant to lead you through the Japanese gardens in a particular way. We used it to ensure we didn’t miss anything but did not always see everything in numerical order. The first point is the Chie no Wa Wisdom ring which is a replica that was donated by the citizens of Miyazu, Delray Beach’s sister city in Japan. It’s absolutely beautiful, the story behind it is fascinating. This is just the first stop of 25!  

Chie no Wa Wisdom RIng

Besides the objects including gates and bridges pointed out in the gardens there are six distinct gardens, a small island, and a bonsai collection. The bonsai collection is great, there are quite a few of all different types and styles. I really liked this portion of the gardens and spent some extra time in this area. The bonsai exhibit is on Yanato Island by the museum’s origianl building. 

My favorite garden is the Karesansui Late Rock Garden. I absolutely love plants, I can spend hours in gardens and walking through the woods, but there is something so calming about a well-done rock garden. This is what I think of when I think of a Japanese garden but there are of course many other styles. You’ll get to see and learn about several of them while you’re at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens!

Karesansui Late Rock Garden
Karesansui Late Rock Garden

The museum rotates exhibitions throughout the year. They have a wide variety of art and artifacts that are part of their own collection and partially borrowed from private collectors. I appreciated the fact that there both historical pieces and fairly modern art.

If you aren’t in driving distance check out their online exhibitions!

Here’s what you need to know to play tourist:

4000 Morikami Park Road
Delray Beach, FL 33446

 (561) 495-0233