Morikami Japanese Gardens is an absolute must see while in Delray Beach Florida. My camera never stopped while I was there and I must have taken a thousand photos! Japanese Zen gardens are always breathtaking, and if you have never been, I think you will be amazed. The Morikami Japanese gardens are made up of 6 distinct gardens that designer Hoichi Kurisu has created, all inspired (not copied) by famous ones in Japan. Let’s start the tour!
Shinden Garden is the part of the Morikami Gardens based on the Heian Period (9th to 12th centuries). With two beautifully landscaped islands in the lake, you see them by crossing a stately arched bridge. After this first bridge there is side-by-side and then a zigzag bridge. From these islands you can see the Morikami Falls and the small bridge that crosses the brook. Before starting out on the first bridge, be sure to see the replica of the 500-year-old stone lantern that was donated to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens by Delray Beach’s sister city Miyazu, Japan.
Paradise Garden (13th to 14th centuries) is reached after the Ancient Gate and the Bamboo Grove. This is the one of the Morikami gardens that is inspired by the style where, for the first time, paths were featured for strolling. It is meant to be an earthly representation of Buddhist heaven, and the pond is laid out in the shape of the character “kokoro” which means heart or soul. From here you move on to the “deer chaser” which is the sound of bamboo hitting rock, and adds sound to your walk.
Early Rock Garden (14th century) is in the style of where the Japanese Zen gardens first began. Placing it close to the Paradise Garden gives you the perfect chance to compare the ways Buddhism influenced the two different styles of design. Here there is a dry cascade, which are rocks arranged to give the suggestion of a waterfall without any water at all. Stunning to see and not to be missed. From here we move on in our tour of the Morikami Japanese gardens to….
Karesansui Late Rock Garden (15th century) shows where the Japanese Zen gardens became the rocks arranged on and in a bed of raked gravel. Instead of being meant to walk in, these were made strictly for viewing, and by its very austerity to bring peace and clarity to your mind. Truly remarkable!
Hiraniwa Flat Garden (17th to 18th centuries) is the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens answer to the style of “borrowed scenery” or shakkei. This type of design is meant to frame something outside of the garden itself, and here the Museum itself is the backdrop for the landscaped garden. Perfect for photography.
Modern Romantic Garden (late 19th to early 20th century) is where the Morikami Japanese gardens finish. Here we see some Western influence, but also more of a following-nature style rather than the abstract. Here, love of nature dominates, and it feels much more open and light.
I hope this little tour, and these photos, show you how truly beautiful the Morikami gardens are. Honestly, it is even better in person. All this and I haven’t even told you about the Museum itself, or the Bonsai collection! Ah, but I must leave something for you to discover when you visit the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.