Thousands urged to evacuate as Typhoon Nangka hits Japan
AFP/Jiji Press/AFP - High waves crash into the coast at Hyuga in Miyazaki prefecture, Japan's southern island of Kyushu on July 16, 2015

Powerful Typhoon Nangka was barrelling towards the Japanese mainland early Friday after killing at least two people on the island of Shikoku as authorities urged more than 350,000 residents to evacuate.

Nangka, which overnight was packing gusts up to 185 kilometres (115 miles) per hour, made landfall near Cape Muroto on Shikoku, one of the country's main islands, around 11:00 pm (1400 GMT) Thursday, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

By shortly before 6:00 am local time Friday (2050 GMT Thursday) the storm had passed over most of Shikoku and was moving north-northwest at 20 kilometres an hour, set to lash the main island of Honshu before passing into the Sea of Japan, according to the agency's website.

It weakened overnight, with gusts early Friday of 150 km per hour, the website said.

Torrential rain swept Shikoku region from Thursday afternoon, and the region was expected to be hammered by violent, thunderous winds.

The weather agency has issued warnings for flooding, gale-force winds, landslides and high waves in southern Japan.

Local authorities urged at least 367,800 people in the storm's path to evacuate, according to Kyodo News Agency.

Kyodo, citing police, said the two men who died were a 71-year-old who was trying to reinforce