A great place to visit in Florida is the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens in Palm Beach County. I have been there several times, most recently on the same trip when I visited Mandarin in Jacksonville. The museum and gardens are in a park on the site of a Japanese agricultural colony that existed in the early twentieth century. The last remaining settler, George Morikami, left his land to Palm Beach county to preserve as a park. The gardens represent several different periods in the historical development of Japanese gardens.

Zigzag bridge in the Shinden garden.

Shinden Garden: Named for the aristocratic shinden-zukuri style mansions of the Heian Era, these gardens were influenced by Chinese ideas and feature lakes and islands. They were usually viewed from a boat. Notable examples of shinden pond gardens in Japan can be found at Daikakuji Temple and Ninnaji Temple, both in Kyoto.

Kodai-mon “Ancient Gate.”

Bamboo Grove.

Paradise Garden: Developed in the Kamakura and early Muromachi periods (13th-14th centuries), Paradise Gardens were representations of the heaven-like Buddhist Pure Land. Unlike the earlier shinden gardens of the Heian nobility, Paradise Gardens were built for the newly arisen samurai class and were designed for strolling. Notable Pure Land Gardens in Japan include those at Byodoin Temple in Uji and Joruriji Temple, northeast of Nara.

Shishi Odoshi “Deer chaser.”

Early Rock Garden (14th century). With sand suggesting the flow of water, early rock gardens were inspired by Zen and by Chinese landscape paintings.

Late Rock Garden (Karesansui, 15th-16th centuries): The famous Japanese dry landscape garden. The karesansui garden at Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto is a famous example.

Flat Garden (Hira Niwa, 17th-18th centuries): A secular residential type of garden, flat gardens combine features of the late rock garden with others adopted from the tea garden.

Modern Romantic Garden (late 19th – early 20th centuries): Gardens of the Meiji Period represented some Western influence and also drew inspiration from the direct observation of nature following a period when gardens had tended toward abstraction.

On Yamato Island is the Yamato-kan, the Morikami’s original museum building.


Morikami Falls.