This is the first time a Chinese vessel has landed in disputed areas with Japan for more than a year, according to the Japan Times.
Ships of the Japanese naval forces have detected a 4,000-ton Jiangkai II destroyer at around 11am, around the islands managed by Tokyo.
A national defense ministry spokesman said an undisclosed submarine was also discovered entering the disputed islands. "We are tracking the ships and sending them messages that they have entered the waters adjacent to Japan," he added.
Relations between Japan and China have declined in 2012 when Tokyo acquired a portion of the Senkaku Islands from a private owner and placed under state control.
According to the Japan Times, Chinese naval vessels regularly enter the disputed islands surrounding Japan.