Islanders in far-southern Japan were sandbagging their doors and reinforcing windows on Thursday as a powerful typhoon churned their way, with strong rains already lashing the subtropical region.
Nearly 40 flights were cancelled between Okinawa and Amami islands, public broadcaster NHK reported, as Typhoon Chaba brought strong winds that whipped up high waves, bent palm trees and blew away the umbrellas of pedestrians.
Chaba, which means hibiscus in Thai, was some 200 kilometres (120 miles) south of the Okinawan capital of Naha, packing winds of up to 162 kilometres per hour near its centre, said the meteorological agency.
The eye of the typhoon was expected to pass close by Okinawa early Friday, the weather agency said. It could hit Japan's main island over the weekend.
Residents on the Amami island chain were on especially high guard against landslides after they were battered last week by torrential rains that flooded wide areas and left at least three people dead.