Footage on public broadcaster NHK showed flames and smoke pouring out of the three-story building as firefighters battled the blaze.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The building was a former three-story inn that had been rented by the operator for use as a group home for the poor, and was about 50 years old, Kyodo News reported. The building lacked sprinklers, which were not compulsory for the type of facility, Kyodo said.