Morikami Park is named after George Morikami, who donated the land for the park to Palm Beach County. It is the site of the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, the American Orchid Society Visitor Center and Botanical Garden, and the Biwa Pavilion, with group shelters and picnic tables. There is a nature trail through the undeveloped part of the park.
George Sukeji Morikami was a Japanese immigrant to the United States who farmed in Palm Beach County for more than 65 years. He donated his 200 acres (80 hectares) of farm land to Palm Beach County in 1973.
George Morikami was born in Miyazu, Japan. He was 19 years old when he emigrated to the United States in 1906 to join the Yamato Colony, a Japanese farming community in what is now Boca Raton, Florida. In return for his passage to America and spending money, George Morikami was indentured for three years. He was to receive $500 and some land at the end of the three years. He intended to take the money and return to Japan. However, Morikami's sponsor died in 1906, and he did not receive any cash or land, and was unable to return to Japan.
Although the Yamato Colony ultimately failed, George Morikami stayed on and eventually prospered. He and other remaining Yamato colonists had their land seized by the United States as the U.S. entered World War II, when their land was taken to create an Army Air Corps training base (see also: Boca Raton Airport). Near the end of the war, George Morikami bought land in Delray Beach, Florida, and farmed it for almost thirty years.
George Morikami was in his 80s when he donated his land for a park. He died at age 89 in 1976, a year after the groundbreaking for Morikami Park. His ashes were eventually returned to Miyazu. There is a monument to him in the Japanese gardens in the park. Delray Beach is a Sister City to Miyazu in honor of George Morikami.
The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is a participant in public-private partnership between The Morikami, Inc., a registered 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and Palm Beach County.
Private events can be booked at the park for $7,000+.
Admission is now only possible by paying $12.
- Ashton, Jacqueline (1979). Boca Raton: From Pioneer Days To the Fabulous Twenties. Boca Raton, Florida: Dedication Press. pp. 47–50. ISBN 0-9604898-1-9.
- The Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens Help Us Grow
- Facility Use and Rental
- The Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens General Information
- Morikami history URL retrieved October 19, 2006
- Morikami bonsai exhibit URL retrieved October 19, 2006
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