Monday, 14 May 2012 16:43

Morikami Japanese Garden

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Morikami Musem and Japanese Gardens, located in Delray Beach, Florida, opened to the public in 1977. The property includes two museum buildings, and the Roji-en Japanese Gardens--featuring six traditional Japanese gardens from various eras, along a mile-long trek surrounding a lake.

 

Morikami was named after George Morikami, a native of Miyzau, Japan, who donated his farm to Palm Beach County to be used as a park and cultural center. The grounds host a number of Japanese festivals each year, including Oshogatsu (New Year's) in January, Hatsume (Spring) in Spring, Kodo no hi (Children's Day) in April, and Bon Festival in August. 

Morikami Cosplay
The Hatsume fair is perhaps the most lively, incuding a Cosplay contest each year.

 

The Morikami Japanese Gardens includes a series of six diverse gardens, each inspired by a different historical period and style of Japanese gardening. A mile-long path leads through these gardens, in between pine trees, bamboo groves, waterfalls, and large rock gardens. 

The landscape changes much overhead as it does beneath, from the unyielding pine trees to the swaying and creeking bamboo,

To a diverse array of flora carpeting ground along your path.

As you stroll along the garden, you'll notice the large variety of wildlife inhabitating its grounds, from the schools of koi schooling in the lake, a pond turtle surfacing for the sun, to the black crane and lazy igwanas lounging along the shore.

Accentuating the natural scape and life of the garden are shi-shi odoshis, literally meaning "scare the deer." There are fountain devices that are intended to scare away birds and beasts damaging agriculture.    

The devices consist of a segmented bamboo tube, pivoted to one side of its balance point. At the resting state, water trickles into the upper end of the tube and accumulates, eventually moving the tube's center of gravity past the pivot, causing it to rotate and dump the water into the fountain, the bamboo hits the rock then the cycle repeats. A shi-shi odoshi is seen below, breaking the silence of the forest. 

 

Water plays an important part in Japanese gardens, with shallow streams and mossy rocks adding a sense of depth and age to the forest.

Towards the middle of the garden trek, plants make way for rock gardens, each line in the sand and gravel carefully drawn, until the criss crosses of waves are finally in balance.

Past the gardens of serenity, we come back out on the main lake

Across a bridge we reach the second structure, and the bonsai garden that's displayed proudly in its courtyard, approaching the end of our tour.

The structure itself is beautiful, its clean lines reminescent of late Edo period architecture.

 

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