Massive earthquake followed by a tsunami hit Japan on Friday, with reports of 'numerous' injuries and ships being washed ashore by waves.

Japan's NHK says a small tsunami hit the shore near the epicenter around 3 pm local time.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre in Hawaii said a tsunami warning was in effect for Japan, Russia, Marcus Island and the Northern Marianas.

The quake measuring 8.9 on Richter scale struck about 382 kilometres (237 miles) northeast of Tokyo, the US Geological Survey said.

Smoke could be seen rising from a building in Tokyo port, the report added.