TRANQUIL music played on the Koto welcomed guests to a special celebration.
A Matsuri summer festival was held amid the cherry trees in Tatton Park’s very own Japanese garden on Saturday.
The Koto is a Japanese plucked half-tube zither and the country’s national instrument.
Koto player Sumie Kent performed several pieces on the long board zither, moving her fingers delicately over the 13 silk strings and movable bridges.
The sound is similar to a harp.
Sumie said: “I have been playing the Koto for 50 years. I started to learn when I was eight years old.
“We don’t use chords. You tune it by moving the bridges.”
Matsuri, the Japanese word for festival, is held to show thanks for nature, life and growth in a community.
Japanese chefs and sake sommeliers provided refreshments.
Visitors were able to watch various authentic cultural activities.
Taiko drummers demonstrated the power of their percussion instruments in several dramatic performances.
The timing of each beat was meticulously synchronised.
Fun and laughter greeted a colourful dragon as he danced round an orange and then threw it out to the crowd, bestowing good luck on whoever caught it.
Children enjoyed having a go at origami and calligraphy workshops.
A tea ceremony was held on an island in the peaceful Japanese garden.
A stunning display of Kyudo, the Japanese martial art of archery, saw a skillful expert hit a target with painstaking precision.
Kendo, a modern martial art using bamboo swords as well as protective armor, was intriguing to watch.
Visitors were able to see how a Kimono is put on and listen to Enka, traditional songs and ballads from the 19th and 20th centuries.
A delegation of special guests attended the unique celebration.
Yui Moromoto, cultural attache from the Embassy of Japan in London, said: “This is the first summer I have been outside Japan in my life.
“I feel as if I were in Japan here in this beautiful garden.”
She invited visitors to tie a wish onto a bamboo bush.
Simon Tetlow, head gardener at Tatton Park, said: “It was wonderful to welcome visitors and guests to celebrate our summer Matsuri Festival.
“Tatton Park’s beautiful gardens were transformed with a host of authentic Japanese cultural activities.
“We’re grateful to our partners at the Japanese Embassy, Japan Society Northwest and JETTA Northwest, along with our wonderful volunteers, for helping to deliver this annual event so successfully.”