Delray Beach, FL

The Best Kept Secret of Delray Beach, Florida: Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Gayle Kurtzer-Meyers
Waterfall at MorikamiPhoto Source: Daniel Di Palma-own work

Japanese and Delray Beach fusion: Morikami is a cultural experience worth trying

Florida is one of America’s most significant tourist states. People of different backgrounds gravitate towards this state, making it a melting pot of cultures, foods, and history. Although Florida isn’t known for its Japanese culture, Morikami Musem and Japanese Gardens are hidden gems in Delray Beach, Florida.

Delray Beach, Florida, is a city that fascinatingly celebrates Japanese culture. The Florida and Japanese connection dates back over a century. In commemoration of the Yamato Colony, George Morikami built the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. Whether you’re currently a resident or visitor of Delray Beach, you should visit this museum for some of the best exhibitions in America. It is genuinely one of the most peaceful environments in the world yet remains a secret gem quietly situated in Delray Beach.

The history of the Morikami Museum

In the early 1900s, a group of Japanese farmers wanted to change the agricultural world in Florida once it started to decline. So when Jo Sakai graduated from New York University, he took a trip back to Japan to bring some successful farming families to Florida to set up a colony. These Japanese farmers settled in the town currently considered the Delray/Boca Raton border.

The Model Land Company also joined their agricultural efforts, a smaller portion of the Henry Flagler’s Railroad Group. Thus, they became the Yamato Colony, a tribute to Japan’s ancient names.

Although this group initially had a bit of steam, they, unfortunately, didn’t meet their goals and ultimately gave up. The families who migrated to the United States gradually made their way back to Japan. However, Japanese citizens weren’t ready to give up on their legacy in the states. So, George Morikami created the Morikami Museum in 1977.

This museum gives you a look into the beautiful Japanese culture and its impact on civilization today. Then, if you choose to go, you’ll visit for the entertainment and leave with a deep appreciation for America’s cultural diversity. I can't get enough of this place.
Japanese garden.Photo by Mattia Bericchia on Unsplash

A day at Morikami

With a mission to help Americans in Delray Beach, Florida learn more about Japanese heritage, this museum has its exhibits arranged engagingly so visitors of different generations can enjoy it. What makes their exhibits intriguing is that they rotate them throughout the year, except for the tributary exhibition about the history of the Yamato Colony. They also offer traditional tea ceremonies that are available between October and May.

Not only does the Morikami Museum have exhibits, but they also have an open-air courtyard with a beautiful dry garden. The inspiration behind architecture was to resemble but not duplicate Japanese villas. To accommodate three exhibition galleries, a theater with over 200 seats, and other amenities, they built a principal museum building in the early 1990s.

The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens sit on 16 acres of land equipped with beautiful strolling paths and sitting areas. Morikami is the perfect place for people in Delray Beach, Florida area looking to find tranquility. In addition, there are garden programs designed to reduce stress. For example, the Stroll for Well-Being program offers support groups and therapeutic walks for people going through mental and emotional shifts to improve their overall quality of life.
Bonsai gardenPhoto Source: Andyxox - Own work Public Domain

Participating in the Stroll for Well-Being program is a not-for-profit organization, so it won’t cost you anything to become a member. Members also receive a guided orientation, a one-year temporary dual membership, online meetings, and a stroll journal to track their progress.

The temporary dual membership allows applicants to bring an additional guest per visit, which is great for caregivers. All you have to do to be a part of this program is to fill out an application.

The Stroll for Well-Being is not the only program you can sign up for at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. There are many activities to do here, including hands-on tea ceremony classes with a professional instructor. You can also learn Sumi-e ink drawings, an Asian technique that dates back to the 12th century. There’s even a book club that meets up and orders lunch while they discuss the book content. These meetings take place at the Cornell Cafè, which is a place to eat at the museum.

Things to consider
You can pay admission for each event that you choose to attend. The general admission for adults over 18 is $15, seniors pay $13, and children between six and 17 pay $9. Children five and under get in free. If you’re a student or a military member, you get a discount when you bring your ID.

It’s likely that once you visit this fabulous museum, you’ll want to come back again. If this is true, consider investing in a membership. Memberships provide free admission to all of the previously mentioned events and premier access to the festivals. You can buy individual or dual memberships. Visit their websites for more information on the various memberships they offer.
Japanese artPhoto by Ryutaro Tsukata from Pexels

Also, there are some pandemic-related restrictions at the Morikami. When you come, be sure to follow proper social distancing regulations and wear a face covering. You can visit the museum and garden between Tuesday and Sunday from 10 am until five in the evening. The museum is closed every Monday and significant holiday.

If you're one of the many people who enjoy cultural entertainment, the Morikami Museum and Gardens is the place for you. Whether you want to take a class or calm your mind, this is an experience that will change your life. Visit their website to become a member or for any museum-related questions.

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I am a Licensed Community Association Manager for the State of Florida and a published author. My top articles are about Florida RE, property management, and the many beautiful venues and activities available in the Sunshine State. Thank you for reading my work and joining me on the journey.

Kissimmee, FL

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