The storm blanketed a stretch of the Tohoku Expressway in Miyagi prefecture at around noon on Tuesday.
Some 200 people have been caught up in the pile-up and rescuers were at the scene, officials said.
Japan has been hit by severe snowstorms in recent weeks with some parts of the country having double the average expected snowfall.
Authorities had already enforced a 50km speed limit on the road due to visibility.
There was a maximum wind speed of about 100km/h at the time of the incident, local weather officials said.
Those who were involved have been given drinking water and food, and have been provided with blankets to keep warm, NHK News reported.
The snow has affected some of Japan's high-speed railway network, with a number of train services in the Tohoku region cancelled.
According to local media, the region is expected to record up to 40cm of snow in the next 24 hours.
The country has been experiencing a large amount of snowfall this winter.
Last month, heavy snow left more than 1,000 vehicles stranded on the Kanetsu expressway for two days.
The weather was so bad that an emergency meeting was called and the country's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga called on members of the public to be cautious.