At least 20 people spent the night outside the shop in the upmarket Ginza area, but the launch was missing some of the pizazz of earlier offerings, with the queue quickly dissipating after an initial rush.
In tech-mad Singapore numbers were well down on previous launches while in Hong Kong, around 30 people queued to pick up their pre-ordered devices before the Apple store opened, in contrast to the hundreds who lined up for the iPad 2 last year and the 1,500 who camped out for the iPhone 4S.
It was a similar story in Sydney where the days-long queues for a new generation iPhone 5 were not repeated.
"Looks like most ordered it online," one person in the small queue said.
Around three dozen markets in Asia and Europe, as well as the US, were due to see launches of the Wi-Fi only version on Friday.
Prior to the launch analysts had warned the starting price of $329 might seem steep to budget-minded shoppers open to Google Nexus or Amazon Kindle tablets available for $199.
"Devotion to Apple products has been compared to a religion," said an analyst from the US-based firm Gartner. "But, I don't think Apple will be as dominant in the seven-inch tablet space because they let the Kindle Fire and the Nexus get a foothold in the market at a considerably lower price."