Mainland Chinese stocks were buoyant after Lunar New Year as figures showed holiday spending surged past pre-pandemic levels, leading gains in most other Asian markets on Monday.

But Tokyo's key Nikkei index ended flat after a larger-than-expected rise in US wholesale prices on Friday dealt a blow to hopes of an early interest-rate cut by the Federal Reserve.

Both the Shanghai and Shenzhen composite indexes added more than 1.3 percent in afternoon trade after traders returned from a week-long break.

Analysts pointed to data showing a 61 percent year-on-year rise in rail trips made in China during the Lunar New Year holiday, with hundreds of millions of people on the move as extended families gathered across the vast country.

Domestic spending on tourism during the holiday came in at 632.7 billion yuan ($87.9 billion), up 7.7 percent from 2019, government figures showed.

The data was a source of relief for Chinese policymakers "grappling with challenges such as slowing economic growth, deflation risks, subdued consumer demand, and a collapse in the property sector", said Stephen Innes, managing partner at SPI Asset Management.

"However, while the surge in tourism provides a glimmer of hope, its long-term sustainability remains uncertain," he said.

China's upbeat moment led gains in other markets, with Seoul up 1.2 percent and Singapore gaining 0.4 percent.

Sydney, Bangkok and Taipei were also slightly higher, but Jakarta dipped 0.3 percent and Wellington fell 0.6 percent.

Hong Kong was down 0.8 percent, breaking a three-day rally, with analysts saying investors were uneasy after a decision by China's central bank to leave a key policy rate unchanged.

Yet overall, market players in China were optimistic about sustaining recent positive momentum in Asian markets despite last week's US inflation shock, Innes said.

Taylor Nugent from National Australia Bank also noted that speakers at the US Fed have "continued to preach patience", adding that "the data flow isn't giving them the green light to accelerate their cutting plans".

Despite ending flat on Monday, Tokyo's Nikkei index has been booming, with a positive trend in recent months now taking the index close to an all-time record set in 1989.

Optimism around strong Japanese earnings reports and the weak yen is bolstering that performance, analysts said.

But "some investors may consider profit-taking opportunities as the Nikkei approaches new all-time highs, as many wonder how long the weaker currency, which has supported exporter profits hugely... will last", Innes warned.

Shares in Japanese gaming giant Nintendo tumbled on Monday, closing down 5.8 percent after reports said its next console would be delayed.

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: FLAT at 38,470.38 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.8 percent at 16,203.55

Shanghai - Composite: UP 1.3 percent at 2,902.86

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 149.98 yen from 150.16 yen on Friday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2623 from $1.2603

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0785 from $1.0781

Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.44 pence from 85.51 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.4 percent at $78.75 per barrel

Brent North Sea Crude: DOWN 0.7 percent at $82.79 per barrel

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.4 percent at 38,627.99 points (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 1.5 percent at 7,711.71 (close)