An approaching typhoon battered communities along Japan's Pacific coast Monday with heavy rain and crashing waves, prompting authorities to warn about landslides and flooding.

On track to hit the main island of Honshu early Tuesday, Lan was expected to dump up to 40 centimetres (16 inches) of rain in the 24 hours to 6:00 am Tuesday (2100 GMT Monday) in some areas, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Some towns would see gusts up to 162 kilometres per hour (100 miles per hour) on Monday, picking up to 180 kph on Tuesday when the system makes slams into Honshu, the agency said.

The storm was forecast to make landfall on the southern tip of the Kii Peninsula, some 600 kilometres west of Tokyo, before making a beeline inland for Osaka, western Japan's main city.

By late Monday morning, one municipality in the Wakayama region started calling on local elderly people to consider evacuating their homes for public shelters.

The approaching typhoon has also prompted the cancellation of public transport services on Tuesday, causing headaches for holidaymakers during the traditional "obon" travel week.

Annually, millions of families return to their hometowns during this season, but some people decided to shorten their vacations and returned to cities Monday before the typhoon strikes.

Japan Airlines said it cancelled 19 flights for Monday and 240 flights on Tuesday. Its rival All Nippon Airways also planned to announce cancellations later.

Various sections of high-speed "Shinkansen" bullet train services are also due to be suspended on Tuesday, especially in regions surrounding the regional business hubs of Osaka and Nagoya on Honshu island.

As of Monday morning, Lan was 260 kilometres southeast of Cape Shionomisaki on the Kii Peninsula, packing gusts up to 198 kph.