A CELEBRATION of Japanese culture took place in Clacks over the weekend, as the Japanese Garden at Cowden hosted their biennial festival.

This was the first year the Japanese Festival had gone ahead since 2018, with the 2020 edition being cancelled due to Covid and last year’s postponed until this month.

The Wee County turned out in droves on Saturday, May 27 to attend the celebration, which attracted a number of societies from across the country to celebrate all things Japan.

Rachael McGaffney, assistant manager at Cowden, said she was thrilled to welcome Clacks back into the garden for the festival after Covid.

“Everybody was really happy with it,” Rachael said. “It was nice to see all their faces and we had all been praying for the sun.

“We hosted this big event to showcase the clash of Scottish and Japanese culture here at the garden.

“It was a little bit of fun after such a down couple of years.”

The Garden Pavilion was formally opened by Lady Grizel Stewart, wife of Sir Bobby Stewart, who cut the ribbon on Saturday to start the event.

The event was attended by the Scottish Bonsai Society, the West of Scotland Kyudo Society, which specialises in Japanese longbow archery, and the Tokyo Adachi Roshukai Iaido, which is all about Japanese swordsmanship.

The societies gave demonstrations of their specialties throughout the day to entertain visitors.

The Japanese Garden was opened in 1908 by Ella Christie, who wanted to create a garden in Clackmannanshire after being inspired during her tour of China, Hong Kong, Russia and Japan.

Rachael added: “We’re working to bring the garden back to the way Ella originally had it in 1908.

“We sold all of our tickets for the festival in two weeks and our sold-out day was made possible by the support of our amazing staff and volunteers.

“Their addition of garden tours, children’s crafts, dry garden demos and much more made this one a day to remember.”