Four sand units deposited by tsunamis and one sand unit deposited by storm surge(s) were identified in a muddy marsh succession in a narrow coastal lowland along the Pacific coast of central Japan. Tsunamis in ad 1498, 1605, 1707 and 1854 that were related to large subduction-zone earthquakes along the Nankai Trough, and storm surges in 1680 and/or 1699 were responsible for the deposition of these sand units. These sand units are distinguished by lithofacies, sedimentary structures, grain-size and mineral composition, and radiocarbon ages; their ages are supported by events in local historical records. The tsunami deposits in the study area are massive or parallel-laminated sands, with associated intraclasts, gravels, draping mud layers and, rarely, a return-flow subunit. The storm surge deposits are devoid of these characteristics, and are composed of groups of thin, current ripple-laminated sand layers. The differences in sedimentary structures between the tsunami and storm surge deposits are attributed to the different characteristics of tsunami and storm waves.