The temblor, with a preliminary magnitude of 6.4, struck at 11:38 a.m. Japan time (10:30 p.m. EDT) and hit the southern tip of Sakhalin, just north of Japan, according to Japan's Meteorological Agency.
One person died and two people were injured on Sakhalin from the quake, the Russian news service Interfax reported.
In Japan, tsunami waves of about 1 foot hit the coastal city of Wakkanai on the country's northernmost island of Hokkaido shortly before 2 p.m., according to the Meteorological Agency. Smaller waves were recorded elsewhere along Hokkaido's western coast.
A second quake of magnitude 5.9 struck the region at 2:22 p.m., the agency said, but said there was no danger of a tsunami.
There were no reports of injuries or damage in Japan from the quakes or tsunami waves. Authorities lifted a tsunami warning for western Hokkaido three hours after the first quake.
Japan and Russia's Far Eastern provinces form part of the Pacific Ocean's seismically active "Ring of Fire."
The Japanese government issues tsunami warnings even when only tiny waves are expected, and the country's most heavily populated coastlines are fitted with loudspeakers to order tsunami evacuations.