Kago, or baskets, encompass a wide variety of designs and uses in Japanese culture. Refined ikebana baskets for flowers or more utilitarian sieves, winnowers, and strainers: all represent a wealth of bamboo craftsmanship. The use of bamboo in the construction of baskets has much to do with its accessibility. Bamboo sprouts each year and takes about a year to grow to full size so that, within the space of a couple of years, bamboo is ready for use. The essential beauty of bamboo is accompanied by superior qualities of strength and resilience.
Because of the nature of Japan's steep mountain enviromment, the human body represented the principal means of transporting goods. Baskets had to be made, therefore, to conform to the shape of various parts of the body. There were baskets borne on the back, strapped to the waist, balanced on the head, and carried by hand. Each basket required a different shape, size and weave. The beauty, versatility, light weight, and suppleness of bamboo as a material for creating baskets remains unsurpassed.