Typhoon Hagibis has hit Japan, killing at least three people and lashing large parts of the country with "unprecedented" rain that caused floods, landslides and emergency disaster warnings.

Around 7.3 million people were given non-compulsory evacuation orders, and more than 90 were injured, while 14 people were reported missing as flooding hit many towns and cities.

Rated "large and very strong", the storm has also forced the cancellation of two Rugby World Cup matches, disrupted the Japanese Grand Prix and grounded more than 1,600 flights.

Japan's Meteorological Agency said the typhoon was forecast to make landfall with maximum gusts of 216km/h.

But hours before the worst of the storm arrived, its outer bands claimed a first casualty in Chiba, east of Tokyo, which was also badly hit by a powerful typhoon last month.

A 49-year-old man was discovered in an overturned lorry and later pronounced dead.

Local media say Hagibis is forecast to be the first storm rated "very strong" to hit the main island of Honshu since 1991, when the category system was introduced.

Some 1.64 million people in the affected area were under non-mandatory evacuation orders, with authorities urging the elderly, disabled and those with children to leave early.

The weather agency said that Hagibis was an unusually large storm, expected to bring "brutal winds and violent seas" to large swathes of the country.

The expected rainfall, in particular, has sparked concern, with the meteorlogical agency warning that high tides ahead of a full moon increase the risk of flooding.

It has issued warnings for strong winds, high waves, landslides and serious flooding for large areas of Honshu.

The storm has thrown two major sporting events into disarray, delaying Japanese Grand Prix qualifiers scheduled for today and forcing the cancellation of two Rugby World Cup matches - England versus France and New Zealand versus Italy.

The storm could also jeopardise a key match between Scotland and Japan tomorrow.

Officials are not expected to make a final decision on that game until tomorrow morning, after they have assessed any damage to the venue and transport links.

Scotland face elimination if the match is axed and have warned they could take legal action if the game is cancelled.

World Rugby called the threat "disappointing".

The storm is also causing transport chaos over a long weekend in Japan.

Japanese airlines have scrapped more than 1,660 domestic flights and some 260 international flights on Saturday.

Many bullet train lines from the capital are suspended, along with both overground and some subway lines serving the Tokyo area.

The storm has also forced the first all-day typhoon closure of Tokyo's Disneyland and DisneySea theme parks, with doors shut from today until at least noon tomorrow.

Japan is hit by around 20 typhoons a year, though the capital is not usually badly affected.

Hagibis is bearing down on the region just weeks after another powerful storm, Typhoon Faxai, hit the area with similar strength, killing two people and causing major damage in Chiba.

More than 36,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in Chiba, and the local government has urged those in affected buildings to take shelter elsewhere during the storm.