Yamato Island is the site of the original museum building, the Yamato-kan, and home to our world-class bonsai exhibition. Explore the island’s many offerings below.
Morikami’s original museum, the Yamato-kan, houses two permanent exhibitions. The Yamato Colony: Pioneering Japanese in Florida presents the history of the group that endeavored on a daring agriculture experiment that brought George Morikami to the Sunshine State. Japan Through the Eyes of a Child transports visitors young and old to Japan, allowing them to step into the world of contemporary Japanese culture.
Morikami Bonsai Collection
Bonsai, literally, “tree in a tray,” are trees or groupings of trees artistically-shaped and cultivated in a container. Morikami’s bonsai collection, showcased at the Dr. Ron and Arlene Kessler Walk, is one of three displays to be named a World Bonsai Friendship Federation (WBFF) Cooperation Center, a designation reserved for the world’s best public bonsai exhibits.
Yamato Island Garden
The garden of Yamato Island is styled after a modern garden emphasizing the relationship between interior and exterior spaces. The exterior spaces include many common features of a Japanese garden such as stone lanterns (including the Ishidoro Stone Lantern and the Challenger Memorial Lantern) as well as tsukubai – water basins, originally placed in tea gardens to allow guests to ritually purify themselves.
Koi Pool & Kameshima (Turtle Island)
Colorful koi (carp) and an array of turtles gather near the rippling waters of the Allen S. Austin Memorial Waterfall for feeding. The ornamental, collectible fish are prized for their distinct red, orange and white coloring. Morikami’s koi have all been generously donated by museum members as well as local koi enthusiasts.
Just off the bank of Yamato Island, Kameshima, or Turtle Island, can be seen. 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, and ours is a favorite basking spot for the many turtles that call Morikami home.