The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.4 and its effects were felt in other parts of the country.
A tsunami warning had been sparked, but was later cancelled.
Around two million homes were left without power as a result of the earthquake, which struck the same region where another quake had triggered the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.
This is what you need to know about the earthquake and 2011 disaster.
When did the earthquake strike?
The earthquake which struck on Wednesday (16 March) was recorded 57km (35 miles) off the coast of Fukushima at a depth of 60 km (37 miles).
This is close to where the most powerful earthquake in Japan’s history, which killed more than 18,000 people in 2011, took place.
It happened at around 11.36pm (2.36pm GMT).
What impact has it had?
The Guardian and The Independent reported the death toll as a result of the earthquake had risen to four. More than 100 people were injured, and thousands had been left without access to water.
Sky News reports the quake shook large parts of eastern Japan, including the capital of Tokyo, where buildings swayed violently. There have not yet been any reports of casualties.
After the earthquake struck an advisory for tsunami waves of one metre was issued for the northeastern coasts of Fukushima and Miyagi regions.
The Daily Mail reported the earthquake has left supermarkets and houses damaged.
Tokyo, which is almost 150 miles away experienced widespread power outages as a result.
The BBC reported local electricity providers had stated about 700,000 homes in Tokyo and 156,000 in Japan’s north-east had been left without power.
Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida tweeted urging people to take care, saying: “Take action to save your life first. Please collect information on TV, radio, and disaster prevention information on the Internet.”
What happened in the 2011 disaster?
The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March, 2011, triggered a nuclear accident.
The earthquake registered a magnitude of 9 and resulted in over 18,000 deaths, several thousands of the victims were never recovered.
The Fukushima nuclear disaster happened at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Ōkuma, as a result of the earthquake and tsunami.
A 15-metre tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three Fukushima Daiichi reactors, causing a nuclear accident beginning on 11 March. All three of its cores largely melted in three days, there were also three hydrogen explosions and the release of radioactive contamination.
In the days following the disaster the government had to declare an increased evacuation zone around the plant.
The disaster was classed as level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale - the only other accident to have that classification was Chernobyl.
According to the World Nuclear Association there were no deaths or cases of radiation sickness from the nuclear accident. Its website also states over 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes as a preventative measure.
However, it was reported in 2018 that the employee in charge of measuring radiation at the Fukushima No 1 plant shortly after its meltdown had died from lung cancer.
Figures also show there have been 2,313 disaster-related deaths (deaths caused by factors exacerbated by evacuation) among evacuees from Fukushima.
A message from the editor:
Thank you for reading. NationalWorld is a new national news brand, produced by a team of journalists, editors, video producers and designers who live and work across the UK. Find out more about who’s who in the team, and our editorial values. We want to start a community among our readers, so please follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and keep the conversation going. You can also sign up to our email newsletters and get a curated selection of our best reads to your inbox every day.