The Meteorological Agency said the quake was centred on the Chiba region, just east of Tokyo, at a depth of 80 kilometres (48 miles), but added there was no danger of a tsunami.
The impact caused buildings to sway but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
Train lines were stopped and sporadic power cuts occurred, but there were no reports of major damage, said Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.
Private broadcaster TBS did however report incidents of water pipes bursting in Tokyo. Meanwhile, Tokyo Electric Power Corporation said that there had been 250 cases of blackouts across the capital.
The earthquake occurred at 10:41pm (13:41 GMT), and was recorded as a “strong-5” on Japan’s earthquake intensity scale. This is a level of ground movement that could cause some damage to buildings, said the Japan Meteorological Agency.
NHK reported that new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, rushed back to his office. An emergency task force has also been set up, which the prime minister said had been instructed to “find out about the latest situation, coordinate with local authorities on response.”
He also added that the task force would provide information to the public in a speedy manner.
In a tweet, Mr Kishida wrote: “Take actions to protect your lives while confirming the latest information.”
Earthquakes are not unusual in Japan, which is located in one of the world’s most seismically active areas. Indeed, 20 per cent of the world’s earthquakes of magnitude six or more take place there.