Japan earthquake: Your stories

At least 350 people are dead and hundreds more missing after a tsunami, caused by a huge 8.9-magnitude earthquake, devastated north-eastern Japan.

Officials say there are likely to be many more victims, with more than 500 people unaccounted for in the area.

BBC News website readers in Japan and Hawaii share their experiences of the moment the 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck.

Etsuko Ueda, Tokyo

Dicey Lee, Puna, Hawaii, USA

I'm currently two miles from the coast which is as close as you can get. We had a 4.6 earthquake with its epicentre about four miles from here.

We've just seen the waters churning, as if it's the beginning of a tidal event. But it's not the event the scientists were predicting.

We went through a lot of the same things with the Chile quake last year. They predicted eight to nine foot waves and in the end it was only about a foot. But this island doesn't really go with predictions.

It's fairly well known what areas will be affected. It'll be the same ones as the 1946 April Fools tsunami, key areas being Hilo City and Laupahoehoe ("Lap-ahoy-hoy") Town, on the north east side.

We're fairly shielded here by the geographical layout of the islands. So we've been told to expect a wraparound effect of five to six foot.

In Hawaii we have a tendency to overreact first, then being so prepared that when it happens it feels like nothing. It psyches you up for the next one. We've got a long history of preparing for tsunamis and hurricanes.

Celebrity Chef Ken Hom, Tokyo

The Peninsula hotel is modern and has the latest earthquake technology so I feel quite safe.

When the earthquake happened I was on the sixth floor swimming in the 20m pool. It felt like I was on board a ship.

The water was splashing so much and the whole pool was rocking. After the quake the lifts were out, and everyone was asked to remain in the hotel for two hours pending security checks.

The hotel has looked after us extremely well and has been full of people seeking refuge. I have stayed in my room since the first quake - at least I can guarantee that I will be fed and watered and I didn't know what would happen if I ventured outside.

Outside has been complete gridlock, with queues of people everywhere.

All public transport was stopped until midnight. Although I'm not sure if it has resumed yet. I was supposed to fly out tomorrow but will have to wait and see what happens.

Shola Fawehinmi, North-east, Japan

Timo Paul, Tokyo

I live just outside Tokyo, to the east. I was sitting at home cooking when I felt the earthquake.

At first it felt normal, like any other earthquake, but I noticed it kept building up, getting stronger and about 30 seconds after it started I decided it was going to be very big.

I ran outside and down the stairs. It was very difficult to keep my balance on the stairs, they were like a snake.

There's a cement flooring area outside and when I stood on it, it felt like rubber. Nothing felt solid at all.

The buildings here seem ok, but we don't have any working water at all, so we think one of the water pipes must have broken.

I've also seen an area where it looks as though the cement has liquefied. There are some large factories nearby and some are on fire.

Charlotte Capanni, Tokyo

I'm visiting the Oxford University Press offices here in Tokyo. We've got a conference coming up and I have been here a few days.

There have been small tremors but they told me it happens all the time. I used one of the office plants to gauge the strength of the tremors.

When it struck it just got stronger and stronger, the plant was swinging around wildly. Like a geek, I was trying to shoot footage with my phone while everyone was shouting at me to get under the desk. It was like being on a boat in choppy water.

Part of the ceiling came down and the room was filled with dust. Once the initial quake stopped we decided to leave. It is eight floors up and I thought we wouldn't be able to get out.

But the way the buildings have been built meant the damage wasn't as bad as I expected and we were able to walk out unscathed. After 20 minutes we rushed back in to get our bags between aftershocks. You could hear the alarms going off outside and then there was the tsunami warning telling us to get to higher ground so we went to the park at Hibaya I think.

You could see the power lines and buildings swaying in the aftermath. I could see how much the buildings were moving, it was amazing.

Lots of people have been unable to get home and the government has advised people to stay where they are if they can't get home. Tokyo is gridlocked now and my concern is for my colleagues who were trying to get home. The lobby of our hotel is full of stranded people.

Hopefully in the morning I'll be able to find out if all my colleagues are safe. One of them had gone to get on a train and I haven't heard if they're safe yet. I can still see the curtains swaying so I'm not sure I'm going to get much sleep tonight.

Kyle Ellison, Hawaii

The entire coastline has already been evacuated. All the hotels have been emptied and the tourists have been moved to higher ground.

Sail boats in the harbour have been moved offshore into deeper water.

This is where we currently are, on a sail boat, waiting to see what will happen.

There are over 100 sail boats here. We've been waiting for more than two hours. It's a beautiful night.

It was the same situation after the Chile earthquake. The entire coastal area was shut down, but there was no major damage.

Hope this time can be the same. The authorities here are taking it all really seriously.

Patrick Boos, Tokyo

Well it was quite scary even in Tokyo. Most people in the office took shelter under their desks.

After the initial quake we were evacuated to the park here in Shinjuku. It was filled with people. Some schoolgirls were crying.

Some people were wearing helmets, which they probably took with them when they left the buildings.

The cell network went down and it took two hours before I could email my wife to find out if she was okay.

I've lived in Tokyo since July last year, but even the Japanese people I know are saying this was the biggest earthquake they have experienced .

I'm still in the office waiting for the train line to come back up. If it doesn't we'll be staying over night at the office. There are about 11 of us here.