Roji-en: The Garden of the Drops of Dew offers something new each time you visit. Prepare for your next stroll through our 16-acres with the garden map below. Simply click on the numbered stop to read more about the history and design of Roji-en. You can also click through our downloadable Visitors’ Guide below for information on our facilities, the gardens, our cultural offerings and facility rentals. After downloading, turn to page 7 for the full Garden Map.Download our Visitors’ Guide and Map (pdf)
1. Chie no Wa Wisdom Ring
Our Wisdom Ring is a replica of a 500-year-old stone lantern that has become a symbol of Miyazu, Delray Beach’s sister city in Japan. The original Wisdom Ring, or Chie no Wa in Japanese, stands at a temple dedicated to the Buddhist deity of wisdom, Monju. This replica was donated by citizens of Miyazu to commemorate Morikami Museum’s 20th anniversary in 1997.
2. James and Hazel Gates Woodruff Memorial Bridge
This bridge marks the entrance to the Japanese gardens and was erected in memory of Mrs. Woodruff, a lover of Japanese gardens, by her husband, a U.S. Naval commander and Pearl Harbor veteran. The structure symbolizes the link between Japan and Florida that Morikami provides.
3. Shinden Garden
(Heian Period, c. 9th – 12th centuries)
The Japanese nobility of this era adapted Chinese garden design ideals that featured lakes and islands and emphasized informality and appreciation of nature. Such gardens were usually viewed from a boat.
The Kodai-mon or “Ancient Gate” was constructed out of Japanese cypress by Tokyo craftsmen skilled in centuries-old carpentry techniques and design. The gate takes its inspiration from the entrances of the large mansions of high-ranking samurai during the Edo Period (1600 – 1868).
5. Bamboo Grove
Listen for the unmistakable sound of bamboo stalks knocking against each other in the breeze.
6. Paradise Garden
(Kamakura and early Muromachi Periods, 13th – 14th centuries)
A representation of the Pure Land, or Buddhist heaven, such gardens were the first intended for strolling, rather than being viewed by boat.
7. Shishi Odoshi
The Shishi Odoshi or “Deer Chaser” consists of a swinging bamboo arm that collects water and once filled, strikes a rock basin below. The distinct sound of bamboo striking stone is meant to startle animals that have wandered into the garden.
8. Early Rock Garden
(Early Muromachi Period, 14th century)
Such gardens were often inspired by Chinese landscape paintings in ink that depicted water cascading from distant peaks into the sea or a lake.
9. Karesansui Late Rock Garden
(Muromachi Period, 15th – 16th centuries)
Karesansui means “dry landscape.” In this gardening style, rocks, rather than plants, take primary focus and are arranged in a bed of raked gravel. This style was perfected at Zen Buddhist temples. This garden was dedicated by the Homer and Martha Gudelsky Family Foundation.
10. Hiraniwa Flat Garden
(Edo Period, 17th – 18th centuries)
Evolving out of late rock gardens, flat gardens make more liberal use of plant material and often visually incorporate outside elements through a design technique called “borrowed scenery” (shakkei).
11. Modern Romantic Garden
(Meiji Period, late 19th – early 20th centuries)
The design of the Modern Romantic Garden invokes the naturalist trend of the Meiji Period in its openness, both in terms of space and the garden designer’s choice of plants. The long-legged kotoji lantern mimics the form of the movable bridges of the koto, a Japanese stringed instrument. This garden was dedicated by the Kohnken Family Foundation.
12. Contemplation Pavilion
This secluded, elevated enclosure provides no intentional view, unlike the majority of the gardens’ benches and rest areas.
13. Nelson Family Memorial Garden
Originally designed by Norman Nelson and named Koro-en (Garden of Sparkling Dew), this garden memorializes Norman and sons Dan and Bob Nelson, all of whom tended Morikami’s landscaping and bonsai during the museum’s early years. This memorial garden is the site of Morikami’s Peace Pole, inscribed with the words, “May peace reign in the world.”
Nan-mon, or the “South Gate,” serves as the exit from the historical gardens. Its rounded cypress posts and beams contrast with the squared supports of the Kodai-mon, or “Ancient Gate.”
This packed earth and bamboo bridge crosses a shallow creek of pine cones, which, like the pebbles in our rock gardens, are meant to invoke rushing water.
16. Morikami Memorial
A traditional gravestone for George Sukeji Morikami, the namesake of Morikami Park, was erected in 1989 as a gift from the people of Miyazu, Mr. Morikami’s hometown. The adjacent marker memorializes Jo Sakai and Mitsusaburo Oki, founders of the Yamato Colony.
17. Yamato Island
The site of the Yamato-kan, the original Morikami Museum building, this island represents a modern garden that emphasizes the relationship between interior and exterior spaces. The building houses the exhibitions Japan Through the Eyes of a Child and The Yamato Colony: Pioneering Japanese in Florida. The island is also the site of Morikami’s premier bonsai collection.
18. Ishidoro Stone Lantern
Erected in 1681 in memory of the fourth Tokugawa shogun, Ietsuna, the lantern made its way from Kan’eiji temple in Tokyo to a shipbuilder in Kure, Japan; a ship-owner in West Palm Beach; and the South Florida Science Museum before finding a permanent home here in 1977.
These water basins, originally placed in tea gardens to allow guests to ritually purify themselves, serve as focal points in many gardens today.
20. Morikami Bonsai Collection
Bonsai, literally, “tray-planting,” are trees or groupings of trees artistically-shaped and cultivated in a container. The Morikami’s collection, showcased in the Dr. Ron and Arlene Kessler Walk, is one of three to be named a World Bonsai Friendship Federation (WBFF) Cooperation Center, a designation reserved for the world’s best public bonsai exhibits.
21. Allen S. Austin Memorial Waterfall and Koi Feeding Area
Colorful koi (carp) gather here for feeding. These ornamental, collectible fish are prized for their distinct red,orange and white coloring. All of Morikami’s koi have been generously donated by members as well as local koi enthusiasts.
22. Kameshima, Turtle Island
In East Asian lore, turtles are said to live 10,000 years. Islands representing them as emblems of longevity are common features of Japanese gardens, but few islands bear so striking a resemblance to the turtle as ours.
23. Challenger Memorial Lantern
This lantern is dedicated to the seven Challenger astronauts, including Ellison Onizuka, the first person of Asian ancestry to travel in space.
24. Rocky Point
Characteristic of the garden designer’s style, this peninsula offers a captivating panoramic view.
25. Morikami Falls
This dramatic and powerful waterfall combines massive boulders and flowing water in a composition of dynamic tensions. Morikami Falls was dedicated by JM Family Enterprises, Inc. and Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC.