Bounded by Tokyo on the north. From the time of the opening of the ports in 1859, Kanagawa's port at Yokohama developed as a center of the silk export trade. Today Yokohama is an international and cultural center and its port handles the largest amount of trade of any in Japan. During Japan's rapid economic growth era (1955-73) the population of Kanagawa burgeoned as a sprawl of suburban residential communities for Tokyo commuters spread through the prefecture. The population stood at approx. 8,490,000 in 2000.