Japanese shares fell on the final trading day of the month while the rest of Asian markets were little changed despite a rally on Wall Street.
Trading volumes were thin due to the Chinese New Year holidays. Shanghai, Hong Kong and South Korean markets were closed and will resume trade next week.
For the month of January, the Nikkei was Asia's worst performing index with losses exceeding 8 percent, its worst monthly performance since 2012. The Shanghai Composite fell 4 percent for the month while Australia and South Korea lost over 3 percent each.
U.S. gains overnight were unable to lift sentiment. The S&P 500 closed 1 percent higher, while the Nasdaq shot up nearly 2 percent after data showed the economy expanded an annual 3.2 percent in the fourth quarter, with consumer spending rising 3.3 percent.
(Read more: As goes January ... so expect a volatile year)