Nissan gained despite halting some production Wednesday at two Japanese factories due to a European supply line disruption caused by volcanic ash from Iceland.
Chip giants Samsung and Hynix Semiconductor climbed ahead of their results, which boosted Seoul's KOSPI index.
In Taiwan, the benchmark index rose as top electronics parts maker Hon Hai advanced.
Australian shares edged up, although miner BHP Billiton ran in place after revealing it had uncovered possible violations of anti-graft laws.
No.4 lender ANZ Bank gained amid speculation it may buy Lone Star's $4 billion controlling stake in Korea Exchange Bank.