The Japan Meteorological Agency measured it at a 7.0-magnitude, while the U.S. Geological Survey placed it at 6.8.
No tsunami warning was issued, Kyodo News reported.
The USGS said the quake was 216.6 miles deep and centered 307 miles south-southwest of Tokyo, 244 miles south of Shizuoka, 226 miles south of Hamamatsu and 150 miles southwest of Hachijo-jima on the Izu Islands.
The 2:28 p.m. New Year's Day temblor rattled a wide swath of eastern and northeastern Japan, including downtown Tokyo, and Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma, Chiba, Saitama and Kanagawa prefectures, the news agency said.
Kyodo said there was no immediate word of the quake's impact on the country's nuclear reactors, including those crippled by the massive quake and tsunami last March.