A fire whipped up by strong winds has so far engulfed about 140 buildings in Itoigawa City on the Japan Sea coast.
The fire broke out on Thursday around 10.30am at a restaurant in the heart of the city and quickly resulted in a huge column of smoke around 300 meters high.
It led to the evacuation of hundreds and charred around 40,000 sqm of this city in the Niigata prefecture, spreading fast between the buildings, helped by strong winds in this coastal city over the last two days.
The large number of traditional wooden buildings in the city has contributed to the rapid spread of the fire, even as the narrow streets complicated the work of the firefighters.
Although the firefighters managed to control the fire in 10 hours, they remain vigilant in case it reignites due to strong winds of up to 87 km/h blowing in Itoigawa on Friday.
The fire has led to the evacuation of around 740 people from some 360 homes, the Kyodo news agency reported.
Two women and six firefighters have also sustained minor injuries in the fire, public broadcaster NHK said.
This is the first fire in Japan in the last 20 years that has not been caused by a natural disaster.