No tsunami alert was issued.
The quake at a depth of 6.2 miles struck just after 10:00 a.m. local time, 8 miles northwest of Takahagi in Japan's Ibaraki prefecture and 91 miles north-northeast of Tokyo, the USGS said.
Kyodo News said while there were no immediate reports of damage, part of the Joban Expressway was briefly closed for safety checks. The quake also was felt in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, as well as the Tokyo metropolitan area.
Japan and the surrounding islands straddle four major tectonic plates including the Pacific, North America, Eurasia and the Philippine Sea plate.