The tsunami waves unleashed by a powerful 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan have reached Hawaii shores, reports have said, even as local authorities heightened efforts to protect lives and assets from the catastrophic waves.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the first island hit by the waves was Kauai.

Earlier, the Honolulu Department of Emergency Management officials had warned that tsunami waves of up to six feet height could hit the shores on the northern edge of the island.

The waves will likely last for hours and there could be multiple destructive waves, the officials had warned.

These are not like surf waves. These waves effectively wrap around islands, so all coasts will be affected, the Los Angeles Times had quoted John M. Cummings III, Honolulu Department of Emergency Management spokesman, as saying.