A GROUP of Cumbrian tea shops have celebrated National Green Tea Day by employing a Japanese Geisha to guide them through the traditional tea ceremony.
The day was organised by the North West Farm Tourism Initiative as part of a plan to attract more Japanese tourists to the area.
Cumbria is already a popular destination for visitors from Japan but tourism bosses are expecting a further boom in numbers after the Japanese release of the film Miss Potter.
Spokeswoman for the Tea Trail Cumbria, Annie Swarbrick said: "We have created National Green Tea Day to introduce our British, American and European visitors to the health benefits of green tea.
"At the same time, we are gearing up to be excellent hosts for our Oriental visitors. We are certain those Japanese tourists who have been inspired to visit Cumbria because of Miss Potter will be keen to drink in the Cumbrian landscape and experience good old Cumbrian hospitality, as Japanese visitors are already some of our greatest fans."
To try to find the right sort of guidance, they issued an advertisement, hoping someone would come forward via the world-wide web, or printed media.
This led to the Tea Trail Cumbria linking up with the York-based organiser of the 2008 Festival of Japan, Jill Clay, who has years of knowledge on all things Japanese.
For National Green Tea Day, Jill advised the Tea Trail on the world of green tea, including how to serve it and its undisputed health benefits along with Japanese colleague, Naoko Sakagami, in full Japanese costume to make sure thngs were done authentically.