The Nikkei stock index fell 0.59 percent on Tuesday as investors opted to take profits as the U.S. dollar retreated against the yen.
The Nikkei 225 index dropped 92.03 points to close at 15,521.22, while the broader Topix index of all first-section issues lost 0. 49 percent, or 6.30 points, to finish at 1,285.01.
Local traders said despite Wall Street offering a strong lead overnight, the market mood was dashed by the U.S. dollar falling against the yen, which tends to drag Japanese stocks down, particularly exporter issues who rely on a weaker yen to boost repatriated profits from overseas.
The U.S. dollar was fetching 103.87 yen in afternoon trade in Tokyo, down from 104.01 yen logged in New York on Monday afternoon.
"A stronger yen triggered a selloff in the futures and cash markets. The fall is a reaction after two weeks of gains," said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities Co.
Other analysts said following the Nikkei's nine-day winning streak that ended last Thursday, there were some concerns among market players about overheating.
"A sense of overheating has led to a lull in buying," said Hiroichi Nishi, assistant general manager of equity research at SMBC Nikko Securities Inc.
Consumer finance related issues comprised some of the day's worst performers, with Credit Saison dropping two percent to close at 2,047 yen and Acom falling 2.4 percent to finish at 361 yen.
Kintetsu Department Store Co. was a notable decliner Tuesday, tumbling 4.8 percent to 355 yen, after the retailer slashed its full-year operating-profit forecast to 4.1 billion yen, down 45 percent from previous projections.
Among heavily weighted issues that closed lower, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. closed down one percent to 597 yen and mobile carrier SoftBank lost 1.8 percent to finish at 7,261 yen.
But DeNA bucked the downward trend, jumping 3.7 percent to 1, 324 yen, as two of the company's mobile games topped a free Apple iOS application download chart as of this morning.
Trading volume on Tuesday rose to 1.83 billion shares on the Tokyo Exchange's First Section, up from Monday's volume of 1.56 billion shares, with declining issues outnumbering advancing ones by 1,102 to 577.