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Gardens

Morikami’s gardens, named Roji-en: Garden of the Drops of Dew, were designed to be a living exhibit complementing the museum. Here in Roji-en, designer Hoichi Kurisu sought to create a garden complex for the new millennium. Its six distinct gardens are inspired by, but are not replicas of, famous gardens of Japan. Kurisu has created a unique garden conceived and constructed in the spirit of the masters.

There is no single way to interpret the garden. While we provide some historical, technical and aesthetic explanations for elements of the garden, we hope that such information will enhance, not overshadow, your experience, which is ultimately one of personal insight, discovery and invigoration.

The garden has abundant viewpoints that give you a chance to stop and enjoy your surroundings. Feel free to sit on a bench and simply relax as you take in the wide panorama of water, earth and sky, or enjoy a more intimate view of individual rocks and plants nearby.

Visit our Historical Gardens page to learn more about the Roji-en’s six distinct gardens or download a map of our gardens for your visit.

Challenger

Immersed in society’s materialism, increasingly boxed into a systematized world, we have become immune to a simpler, more natural way of living and thinking. It is difficult if not impossible under such circumstances to experience and know reality. Despite our accomplishments and possessions, our deeper desires often remain unfulfilled. We find ourselves preoccupied with modern society’s demands, drawing us away from cultivating a more fundamental relationship with Life.

The development of the Cornell Japanese Gardens at Morikami Park offers rich potential for thought and experience. They are an invitation to stop momentarily and ponder anew what we are, where we have been, and where we are heading. My hope is that visitors will let the gardens speak to them of timeless truths and rhythms which can provide therapeutic insights for today. I hope visitors will listen to, cherish and act upon the inspiration the gardens impart to them individually.

Strolling through pine forest or bamboo grove, viewing the rock formations, arrangements of plants and cascading waterfalls, pausing to ponder the quiet surface of the lake and shoreline —little by little we are encouraged to lay aside the chaos of a troubled world and gently nurture the capacity within to hear a more harmonious, universal rhythm. We exchange burden, boredom and despair for renewal, inspiration and hope. Or, from the joy we already feel, we discover an even greater capacity for good. This is the tremendous power the Japanese gardens at Morikami Park hold for us.

My hope is that a visit to the gardens will genuinely and deeply touch each individual’s life. My hope is that progressive ideas will be born and that action will take root here, that the intuitive conviction of such enduring qualities as beauty, love, health and wholeness, integrity, creativity, renewal, and selflessness will be strengthened.

I will have accomplished my goal if visitors to the gardens come away refreshed and feeling better about themselves and their world while looking forward to sharing their experiences here with others.

—Hoichi Kurisu, Master Garden Designer

YukimiEarly Rock Garden