Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Palm Beach, FL

Morikami Museum and Gardens is super fun to visit! You walk a winding path around a lake past wonderful Japanese trees that set an exotic mood. Once you reach the museum, on Turtle Island, you are ready to be transported to Japan! The museum is in a Japanese-style house complete with black and white rice paper doors. Each room is stocked as if in a real Japanese house: the kitchen has drawers full of Japanese cooking utensils, the refrigerator is full of Japanese foods, and even the toilet is one of the modern gizmos they use in Japan! It is a blast for kids to wonder around the rooms and learn about a new culture!
There is a school room complete with desks, charts of letters and words, and school uniforms. A metro station with a bullet train and bento shop is pictured. There are displays of toys and games from Japan, as well as a table where kids can practice using chopsticks on noodles made of rubber bands! A menu from McDonalds in Japan provides some laughs. An exhibit tells about the Yamato colony, with interesting large photos of the early settlers, and how it was hard to lure women to live there and even harder to get them to stay once they arrived!
Outside the museum, kids can feed koi with fish food that they buy for $1. The koi are amazing, coming up close and moving their mouths in such a weird way! There are also turtles. Here the trees reach so high in one clump on the waterfront across from you that it looks like a jungle mountain. 
In front of the museum is a wonderful bonzai (a tree artistically shaped in a container) garden with small versions of trees found in Florida. On the walk around the second half of the garden, you see a fountain that makes a heavy piece of bamboo fill and then fall: clomp. You walk under squeaking bamboo, and through a tunnel of twisty tree branches. You can look through the O of a wisdom ring sculpture. Kids enjoy all the discoveries.
At the entrance villa, there is a short video that explains about George Morikami and how he came to Florida to farm and later, in the 1970s, donated his farmland to Palm Beach County. The video describes how difficult it was to sustain the Yamato Colony, a farming community. It takes about two hours to walk around the gardens and see the museum. 
Three festivals make the gardens come to life each year: the New Year Celebration (January 12, 2020), Spring Festival also called Hatsume Fair (April 6 and 7, 2019), and Lantern Festival (October 19, 2019). There are some wonderful classes offered too, such as a Koto Music Class.
There is a cafe, Cornell Cafe, in the entrance villa. It looked like it has reasonably priced Asian food. We didn't eat there, but it looked good, with water views!
You could also eat across Jog Rd at the lovely Mediterranean shopping center called Addison Place. There is a very popular counter-service cafe called Way Beyond Bagels that has delicious Waldorf Chicken bagels- the indoor seating is crazy noisy so plan to sit outside at the tables (come early because they fill up). For coffee, there's a Starbucks with pleasant outdoor seating.
For a beach nearby check out Delray Beach. For a mall nearby, check out Town Center Mall in Boca Raton. If you like gardens, you will also love McKee Botanical Garden in Vero Beach.

Continue to pictures...

Koi in the water.

Serene place to sit in the forest.

Tunnel made of branches.

Bamboo grove.

View of the museum building across the lake.

Bridge from a little island.

Gorgeous banisters on the bridge.

Wisdom ring.

Wisdom ring and shinden garden behind (a garden with islands and bridges).

Earthen bridge leading to turtle island and the museum building.

Japanese trees.

Willow Leaf Ficus bonsai tree (a tree artistically shaped in a container)- trees found in Florida are emphasized in the wonderful bonsai garden.

Turtle island, where you can feed koi and enjoy the bonsai garden.

Mountain of jungly trees, across the water from turtle island.

Museum building with rice paper doors.

Bullet train in the museum.

Japanese school classroom, with desks, charts, and uniforms.

Japanese toys.

Japanese games and toys.

Pretend bento shop.

Make-believe bento shop in the museum building.

Inner courtyard of the museum building.

McDonalds menu from Japan.

Fridge stocked with Japanese grocery items.

Kids can practice using chopsticks with noodles made of rubber bands!

Japanese kitchen utensils.

Exhibit about the settlers of the Yamato colony.

It wasn't easy to lure women to the Yamato colony!

Peaceful spot in the gardens.

Pretty trees with bright green leaves.

Addison Place Shopping Plaza, across Jog Rd from the gardens.

The exotic architecture at Addison Place Shopping Plaza, across Jog Rd from the gardens.

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is located at 4000 Morikami Park Rd, Delray Beach FL 33446, call (561) 495-0233. Exit the Florida Turnpike at Atlantic Ave and head toward the ocean for almost two miles. Turn right on Jog Rd and then after almost two miles, turn right on Morikami Park Rd and follow the signs for the museum and gardens parking lot. 
Open Tues-Sun 10-5. Closed on Jan 1, Easter Sunday, July 4, Thanksgiving (4th Thurs of Nov), and Dec 25. 
Cost is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors 65 and over, $11 for college students with ID, $9 for children aged 6-17. 
Way Beyond Bagels, 16850 Jog Rd, Delray Beach FL 33446, call (561) 638-1320.

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Last Updated: Tue, 26 Feb 2019 01:07:41 GMT

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