Tokyo fell 0.59%, or 92.03 points, to 15,521.22 and Hong Kong shed 0.37%, or 92.41 points, to end at 25,074.50 after hitting a six-year high on Monday.
Shanghai sank 0.99%, or 22.17 points, to 2,207.11 on lingering concerns about the economy while expectations of fresh measures to kickstart it fade.
Sydney ended flat, adding 2.7 points to 5,637.6 and Seoul was 0.35% higher, putting on 7.16 points to 2,068.05.
Taipei was marginally higher, edging up 3.34 points to 9,393.96 and Manila put on 0.19%, or 13.26 points, to 7,146.35.
US traders reacted positively to weekend comments from Federal Reserve head Janet Yellen on the bank's monetary policy.
Ms Yellen told the Fed's annual symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, that despite a sharp fall in joblessness there was "considerable uncertainty about the level of employment" in the economy. That was taken as signalling her commitment to raise rates late next year, rather than earlier as some analysts and policymakers would like.
Asian markets were unable to extend their gains from Monday, however, and the dollar lost its momentum after hitting a seven-month high against the yen.
In Japanese trade the greenback fetched 103.88 yen, compared with 104.01 yen late in New York and well off the 104.18 yen in Tokyo earlier Monday.
The euro bought $1.3191 and 137.10 yen Tuesday against $1.3193 and 137.23 yen in US trade.
The single currency was also under pressure after European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi hinted that he could embark on fresh monetary easing measures to kickstart the eurozone, while an index of German business confidence hit a 13-month low.