Investors are hoping to get a better handle on the state of the global economy with the release this week of Chinese economic data as well as minutes from the Federal Reserve's most recent policy meeting.
Tokyo eased 0.42%, or 65.03 points, to finish at 15,314.41, while Sydney fell 0.15%, or eight points, to 5510.9 and Seoul was flat, nudging up 1.54 points to 2,006.66.
Shanghai added 0.20%, or 4.09 points, to 2,064.02 and Hong Kong closed flat, ticking up 0.46 points to 23,541.38.
After a long Independence Day weekend US shares returned on Monday for the first time since Thursday's better-than-expected jobs report.
However, they ended in the red on profit-taking while there were warnings that global markets could be headed for further losses after enjoying a positive run-up in the past few weeks, which has seen the Dow and S&P 500 touch new records.
Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said in a television interview he was "very uncomfortable" with current stock prices, while Raymond James managing director Jeffrey Saut said in a note that stocks are vulnerable to a 10-12% decline in the weeks ahead.
The Dow slipped 0.26% after breaking 17,000 for the first time on Thursday, while the S&P 500 eased 0.39%. The Nasdaq declined 0.77%.
The dollar also fell in New York, sitting at 101.87 yen late in trade, well down from the 102.11 yen in Tokyo earlier in the day.
On Tuesday morning the greenback bought 101.80 yen.
The euro fetched $1.3589 and 138.32 yen in Tokyo, against $1.3604 and 138.59 yen in US trade.
On Wednesday the Fed is due to release the minutes from its most recent policy meeting.
"Attention is now turning to US corporate earnings and the US Fed's stance on monetary policy, especially the pace of stimulus tapering after last week's strong jobs data," Rakuten Securities senior market analyst Masayuki Doshida told Dow Jones Newswires.
Also Wednesday China will announce inflation data for June, following that up with trade figures on Thursday. There are hopes for another upbeat set of results following a recent string of good news, including on manufacturing activity.
In Seoul, Samsung Electronics ended 0.23% higher despite warning of a 25% plunge in its operating profit in the second quarter of the year as its smartphone business grapples with a strong won and cheap rivals from China.
Analysts said the weak figures had already been priced in, resulting in a more than 10% fall since early June.
Oil prices were mixed. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for August delivery dipped 20 cents to $103.33 while Brent crude for August was down 52 cents to $109.72.
Gold fetched $1,322.43 an ounce at 1130 GMT compared with $1,314.03 late Monday.
In other markets, Mumbai fell 1.98%, or 517.97 points, to 25,582.11 points.
Unitech dived 12.54% to 28.25 rupees and Jaiprakash Associates fell 9.82% to 66.15 rupees.
Bangkok gained 0.29%, or 4.37 points, to 1,507.58. Coal producer Banpu lost 0.86% to 28.75, while Bangkok Bank added 0.76% to 198.50.
Singapore eased 0.25%, or 8.23 points, to 3,283.34. DBS Bank was down 0.52% to S$17.07 while Singapore Airlines fell 0.10% to S$10.39.
Kuala Lumpur ended flat at 1,892.65, gaining just 0.15 points or 0.01%. Financial firm CIMB Group Holdings added 0.3% to 7.28 ringgit, while SapuraKencana Petroleum rose 0.2% to 4.41. Telekom Malaysia lost 0.2% to 6.36 ringgit.
Jakarta ended up 0.72%, or 35.68 points, at 5,024.71. Telecommunications company Indosat gained 2.19% at 3,735 rupiah, while Hero Supermarket fell 6.04% to 2,800 rupiah.
Taipei rose 0.11%, or 10.78 points, to 9,530.98.
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co shed 1.10% to T$134.5 while Hon Hai Precision was 0.97% higher at T$104.5.
Wellington sank 0.39%, or 20.29 points, to 5,166.08. Air New Zealand was off 2.06% at NZ$2.135 and Fletcher Building eased 0.66% to NZ$9.00.
Manila closed 0.72% lower, dipping 50.58 points to 6,948.52. Ayala Land retreated 1.43% to 30.95 pesos, Philippine Long Distance Telephone gave up 0.60% to 3,002 pesos and Megaworld Corp eased 0.21% to 4.72 pesos.