Since the opening of the Port of Kobe in 1868, Hyogo has been a gateway to the world, serving as a center of international trade and a hub for international exchange.
In terms of modern day attributes, Hyogo Prefecture serves as an international base for research projects that cover a wide range of areas. Research facilities that have been established in Hyogo include the world's largest third-generation synchrotron radiation facility (SPring-8), the International EMECS Center for environmental management of enclosed coastal seas, and the WHO Kobe Centre, which conducts human health studies. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs is also located in Kobe. Based on the lessons learned from the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, research activities for disaster management and prevention are under way at the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution as well as the Asian Disaster Reduction Center.