At least 20 people are dead after a powerful typhoon hit western Japan on Sunday.

A further 55 people are reported missing in six prefectures after buildings were washed away and landslides crushed homes.

Typhoon Talas is considered one of the deadliest in recent years, packing gusts of up to 68mph. It cut across the main island of Shikoku and the western part of Honshu island.

More than 3,600 people in 37 areas were cut off in isolated pockets, and the rescue efforts are being hampered by flooded rivers and collapsed bridges, according to local reports.

Reports are that Talas also damaged Nijojo castle, a designated important cultural treasure and a popular tourist attraction in the ancient city of Kyoto.

Japan's meteorological agency warned of the potential of more heavy rains, strong winds, floods and landslides.

Landslide warnings has been issued in nearly all of the country's prefectures.