Monday, August 25, 2014

Our visit to the Morikami Japanese Gardens

     We've stayed at Marriott's Ocean Pointe Resort several times before, and while there, we like to visit some of our favorite places as well as explore new attractions. My son David and his girlfriend Lisa are both juniors in college. Lisa has a double major in Special Education and History and David has a double major in Art and Education with a minor in Art History. They found a brochure describing the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens and thought this would be a great place to add to our "must see" list. Lisa will be taking a Japanese Culture class in September and David is interested in growing Bonsai trees and art of various cultures. My daughter Pam will be a senior in high school this September, and took an elective in photography last year. She thought a visit to the center would offer the opportunity to utilize her new found photography skills (by the way, many of the photos on this blog can be credited to Pam). Dave and I enjoy gardening and are always interested is seeing what others create. It was unanimous...our family decision on a new place to explore was made.

The gardens were spectacular and the museum and art exhibition were really interesting. Morikami remains the nation's only museum dedicated to Japanese living culture, and it's 16 acres of gardens are recognized among the finest outside of Japan.

"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". We could certainly use one of these in our gardens at home to scare off the critters that try to steal our veggies, eat our berries, or destroy our flowers!  A safe, pesticide free deterrent.

There are no signs in Roji-en, the Garden of the Drops of Dews, to identify the various plants, trees, and flowers. The reason is that the garden is a Japanese garden, not a botanical one. The brochure states that "The visitor's experience is meant to be a restorative one, free from the potential distraction of signs and labels beyond the bare minimum to guide guests through the garden." There is a library on the premises for visitors who want to know more about the various plant species in the Roji-en.

The bamboo grove was very interesting to see, and just as the brochure instructed, we "listened for the unmistakable sound of bamboo stalks knocking against each other in the breeze".

Hoti, the resident god of happiness, is an unexpected surprise that greets visitors along the way.

Our day at  the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens was certainly an enjoyable one, and it is definitely a place we would consider visiting again and would recommend to others.

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