A strong 6.6 magnitude earthquake hit western Japan Friday, the US Geological Survey said, but there was no immediate tsunami risk.
The quake, at a relatively shallow depth of 10 kilometres (six miles), struck shortly after 2:00 pm (0500 GMT) in Tottori prefecture.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, but television images showed severe shaking in the region.
Japan sits at the junction of four tectonic plates and experiences a number of relatively violent quakes every year, but rigid building codes and their strict enforcement mean even strong tremors often do little damage.
A massive undersea quake however that hit in March 2011 sent a tsunami barrelling into Japan’s northeast coast, leaving more than 18,000 people dead or missing, and sending three reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
In April this year, two strong earthquakes hit southern Japan’s Kumamoto prefecture followed by more than 1,700 aftershocks, and left at least 50 dead and caused widespread damage.