The dollar broke above the 120 yen mark for the first time in two months Wednesday as fund players triggered automated dollar-buying orders, but the greenback fell later on profit-taking.
The U.S. dollar was trading at 119.86 yen at 2:50 p.m. (0550 GMT) Wednesday, up from 119.72 yen late Tuesday in New York. The euro fell to US$1.3586, from US$1.3620.
U.S. investors bought the dollar at the start of the afternoon session in Asia, lifting the dollar to 120.15 yen before selling by Japanese exporters halted its rise.
Trading was thin due to Japan's Golden Week holidays. Markets were closed Monday and again on Thursday and Friday.
Players are now looking to the U.S. non-manufacturing index for April from the Institute for Supply Management, due out on Thursday, and April non-farm payroll numbers on Friday.
If these data come out stronger than economists expect, the U.S. currency could rise again to around 120 yen, but it is very unlikely to rise above 120.50 yen, said Jun Kato, a senior dealer at Shinkin Central Bank.
Traders said it will be hard for the U.S. unit to rise above its recent highs and it may fall in coming days.
"There is a large amount of dollar-selling orders, so I don't think the dollar will rise much from here," said Masashi Matsuzawa, a senior dealer at Mizuho Corporate Bank.
The dollar was mostly higher against other Asian currencies, rising to 47.575 Philippine pesos from 47.525 and to 1.5246 Singapore dollars from 1.5201. It fell to 929.6 South Korean won from 930.8.