The search Sunday was in coastal areas of Miyagi and Iwate prefectures, where more than 2,500 people are listed as missing, the Kyodo news service reported.
About 240 police officers and firefighters dug into ground submerged by the tidal wave, while about 70 members of the coast guard searched with patrol vessels and helicopters.
No remains were recovered.
The police and coast guard plan a similar search Thursday in Fukushima Prefecture, where a nuclear power plant was destroyed by the natural disasters. More than 200 people are listed as missing there.