Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi tacked on 0.29 percent to finish at 2,503.73. Heavyweight Samsung Electronics, which had fallen for most of last week on the release of poorer-than-expected profit guidance, closed higher by 0.71 percent. Other tech names, however, were in negative territory, with SK Hynix declining 2.28 percent.
Meanwhile, bitcoin-exposed stocks retraced losses seen last week following news about a potential ban on cryptocurrency trading in South Korea. Omnitel rose 28.86 percent and Kakao advanced 3.2 percent on the day.
Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.12 percent to end at 6,077.1, with the materials and gold producer sectors among the best-performing on the day. Major miners BHP and Rio Tinto closed up 1.17 percent and 1.46 percent, respectively.
Gold producers also finished the session in positive territory after the yellow metal hit four-month highs on softness in the greenback. Newcrest Mining rose 2.92 percent and Evolution Mining was up 6.64 percent by the end of the day.
In greater China markets, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index, which had traded convincingly higher earlier in the day, slipped into negative territory in the last hour of trade. The index edged down 0.14 percent by 3:03 p.m. HK/SIN after closing higher for the 14th consecutive day last Friday. Still, the benchmark traded not far from its all-time high of 31,958.41.
Mainland markets traded lower. The Shanghai composite shed 0.55 percent to close at 3,409.99 and the Shenzhen composite lost 1.8 percent to end at 1,913.77. The blue chip CSI 300 index closed flat. Financials listed on mainland markets made gains, but those were offset by losses in telecommunication services, materials and industrials names.
The Chinese currency rose to a more than two-year high after an official at Germany's central bank said it would add the yuan to its currency reserves, Reuters reported. The on-shore yuan traded at 6.4320 at 2:53 p.m. HK/SIN while the offshore yuan traded at 6.4362. The central bank lets the yuan rise or fall a maximum of 2 percent against the dollar, relative to the fixing rate.
The People's Bank of China set the yuan midpoint at 6.4574 to the dollar, its firmest level in more than 1 1/2 years, earlier on Monday, Reuters said.
MSCI's broad index of shares in Asia Pacific excluding Japan on Monday recorded a fresh record high, clearing a peak of 591.50 set in 2007. The index was up 0.28 percent at 591.80 at 3:16 p.m. HK/SIN.
Meanwhile, at least a dozen people were injured at the Indonesia Stock Exchange following the collapse of a floor in the building, Reuters reported. Police said a bomb was not the reason for the collapse, the news agency added. Afternoon trade at the exchange resumed at regular hours.