The economy ministry said in a statement that industrial orders fell by 1.9 percent in April from March, partially wiping out the 3.2-percent increase seen the previous month.
Analysts polled by Dow Jones had been expecting a more modest decline of around 1.0 percent.
The number of big-ticket orders in April was "below average," the ministry said.
Furthermore, the decline in the overall figure was largely due to a 3.6-percent decline in foreign orders, while domestic orders edged up by 0.4 percent.
By sector, orders for capital goods were down by 3.3 percent month-on-month in April and consumer goods orders dropped by 5.0 percent, while orders of semi-manufactured goods rose by 0.9 percent, the data showed.