Stormy weather is expected across Japan from Thursday, with snowstorms feared along the Sea of Japan coast.
Weather officials say a rapidly-developing low pressure system will likely pass through northern Japan from Thursday, while a winter pressure pattern will strengthen through Saturday.
Wind gusts of up to 144 kilometers per hour are forecast on Thursday for Tohoku region and up to 126 kilometers per hour for Niigata Prefecture and the regions of Hokuriku, Kansai, Hokkaido and Chugoku.
Heavy snow is forecast from Thursday to Saturday, mainly along the mountains in the Sea of Japan coastal areas from Hokkaido to Kyushu.
In the 24 hours from Thursday morning, snowfall of up to 90 centimeters is expected in Hokuriku, and up to 70 centimeters in Niigata Prefecture as well as the Tohoku and Kansai areas.
Weather officials warn that violent winds and snow could disrupt traffic.
They are also cautioning against high waves and avalanches. They say snow accumulating on power lines could cause electricity outages, and that trees could collapse under the weight of snow.