Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens - A Delightful Taste of Japanese History, Culture and Food in South Florida

Garden at Morikami Museum
Next time you're in the Miami area and looking to broaden your cultural horizons, you should consider jumping in the car and heading north to Delray Beach. In less than an hour, you can drive to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens and be treated to beautiful gardens, fantastic Japanese food, Florida Japanese history as well as Japanese culture and lifestyle.

The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is a tribute to George Morikami, a Japanese immigrant who migrated to South Florida in the early 1900s as part of the "Yamato" agricultural community.

Truly the essence of the American dream, George Morikami began his life in America as an indentured servant, worked hard and bought his way out of servitude. He went to school, where he learned English, began buying land for his own farm and endured both the Great Depression and a government seizure of his land during World War II.

Relocating his farm to Delray Beach after the end of the war, Morikama continued to work for 30 more years and build a happy life. In the early 1970s, a few years after being granted U.S. citizenship, George Morikami donated 200 acres of his land to give something back to the people of his adopted country and show his appreciation for the opportunities he was given.

Today, that rural farm is gone and much of the land has been taken over by housing developments. Part of it was used to build the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, which opened two years after his death.

Peaceful paths wind their way through the Morikami gardens, where visitors will encounter six different gardens - each depicting a different historical era. The museum, itself, houses Japanese art exhibits that are changed periodically as well as an outstanding Pan-Asian restaurant.

Exhibits depicting the original Yamato colony, a typical Japanese house, Japanese classrooms, a Japanese shopping district as well as the famed Shinkansen bullet train can all be scene in the Japan Through the Eyes of a Child section.

Throughout the year, celebrations are held at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens as well as monthly special cultural exhibitions and classes. The on-site store sells all kinds of authentic Japanese goods - everything from food to housewares to clothing and jewelry.

Located at 4000 Morikami Park Rd in Delray Beach, Florida, the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10:00am to 5:00pm (it is closed on Mondays).

Admission prices are as follows:
  • Adults (ages 18+): $15
  • Seniors (65+) $13
  • Military (with ID): $13
  • College Students (with ID): $11
  • Children (ages 6-17): $9
  • Children 5 and under: FREE!

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