At Tokyo Narita airport, JAL operates four lounges in total – two Sakura Lounges and two First Class Lounges, one of each in the main building and in the satellite of Terminal 2. As of the time of writing this review, though, both of the lounges in the satellite are closed and so is the Sakura Lounge in the main terminal.
As such, all passengers that would otherwise be only eligible to access one of the Sakura Lounges are instead welcome in the main building’s First Class Lounge. That allowed me to visit the first class lounge for the first time last month. Continue reading this review to see what it was like.
Location, Opening Hours & Access
As mentioned in the introduction, the lounge I’ll talk about below can be found in Narita airport’s terminal 2 – the terminal that JAL and other Oneworld airlines use. More specifically, it is located right after security and immigration, across from the immigration counters.
It shares an entrance with the main building’s Sakura Lounge with that one being on the right side of the joint lobby and the first class lounge on the left side.
The lounge welcomes JAL and other Oneworld airlines’ passengers traveling in first class. Additionally, those holding Oneworld Emerald status can enter. While just a temporary measure until the airport’s Sakura Lounges are reopened, when I visited, Oneworld business class passengers and Sapphire status holders could access the lounge too.
While I recommend checking the opening hours of the lounge before your visit on JAL’s website, as the time of writing this article, the lounge is open every day from 7:30AM until 10:00PM.
The lounge’s reception was on the third (departures) floor and so were its smoking and shower rooms. To access the lounge itself, my wife and I were directed into an elevator that took us to the fourth floor.
Getting off the elevator, there was a hallway leading to the lounge’s dining area.
Along its left side, there were some luggage lockers and a small seating area with a couple of coffee tables with leather lounge chairs.
There was also a magazine rack with a few nice illustrations of old aircraft. There were no magazines, though. In fact, all of the magazine racks in the lounge were empty. In some, there was a sign explaining how guests could access reading materials online.
Along the hallway’s right side was a lounging area with rows of a couple of different types of sofa chairs, each with a small coffee table. In addition to seating, this area was also equipped with a drink counter – its contents were similar to those of the one in the main dining area. I will cover that further in the review, though.
On the right side of this area (when looking from the hallway), there was also a counter along the lounge’s windows. Due to the current situation, the area belonging to each seat was partitioned off. Each seat also had access to a power outlet – those were abundant in most of the lounge’s other areas as well.
A couple of massage chairs partitioned off from the rest of the seating and from each other could be found in the lounging area too.
Further down along the hallway, there were also a few phone booths where guests could take phone calls without disturbing those around them.
As someone that tries to avoid doing phone calls from public spaces as much as possible and appreciates when others do the same, I really like this feature that can be found in most lounges around Japan.
Entering the dining area through the hallway, there was a self-serve drink counter on the left. Behind that, there was a bar counter. I’ll talk about more about the food and drinks selection later on.
As for seating in the dining area, there were some round tables with four chairs each, counters lined with chairs, as well as tables for two with a bench on one side and chairs on the other.
Behind the bar counter was a round communal table with five or six chairs. With a large plant in its middle, it provided for a nice seating area for solo travelers.
Going further into the lounge, turning left behind the round table, there was a smaller seating area with two rows of tables. Those had chairs on one side and were lined along comfortable looking benches on the other. Further down, there were some more tables for two.
Making another left turn at the end of the smaller seating area, there was the signature feature of JAL’s first class lounges – a sushi bar. Some drinks – mostly alcoholic – were available in refrigerators next to the sushi bar too.
Seating in the sushi bar area consisted of a row of tables, mostly for two. Those had, once again, benches along one of their sides and chairs along the other. There were also some more counters and tables for two in a slightly darker corner at the end of this area.
Lastly, the lounge’s shower rooms (in addition to a smoking room and what appeared to be a printer that guests could use) were on the third floor. There were half a dozen or so shower rooms and they could be booked through a smartphone app (no installation required) that could also be used to order food.
Having a night flight ahead of me, I decided to take a quick shower. While the shower room was nothing to write home about, it looked decent and was functional. There was both a handheld and rainforest showerhead.
In addition to shampoo, conditioner, and body and hand soaps, a hairbrush, shower cap, and Q-tip were provided in the shower room. Shaving and dental kits were available at the shower reception.
Food and Drinks
There were two self-service drink stations in the lounge – one in the lounging area near the entrance and another one in the dining area. Some alcoholic drinks could also be found next to the sushi bar.
Soft drinks included soda (and some other drinks) available from a dispenser, a selection of teas, and a variety of coffee drinks from an espresso machine.
Self-serve alcoholic drinks included wine, sake, and three different brands of canned beer. While there were also beer dispensers that Japanese lounges are well known for, those were out of service during my visit.
In addition to the drinks available in the self-service areas, sparkling wine, as well as a selection of liquors, were available at the staffed bar.
On the bar counter were small packaged snacks including cookies, nuts and fruits, and candies. Those were the only things to eat available without placing an order. While in the past there was a buffet spread in the lounge, that has been discontinued in favor of food ordering via a mobile app.
Items that could be ordered through the mobile app included a Japanese set meal as well as a number of individual menu items. Those included JAL’s signature beef curry rice, sushi which could be ordered in a set of three different pieces or individually, salmon cream pasta, and soy sauce-flavored ramen.
There was also minestrone soup and a steamed vegetables plate. Bread rolls, rice, and miso soup were available too.
Lastly, there was taiyaki – a fish-shaped cake filled with red bean paste.
JAL First Class Lounge Tokyo Narita Summary
Considering that I was essentially upgraded into the lounge due to Sakura Lounge being closed, there is nothing I can complain about. The lounge had plenty of seating and offered a decent selection of good quality food. There were more than enough drinks to choose from too.
The only two things I would have appreciated would have been some cubicles to work in rather than just the counter along the window in the lounging area and some Western-style cake in addition to taiyaki.
When thinking of the lounge as a first class lounge, though, it would have been nice if some more thinking went into the design. While the sushi bar area was quite nice, otherwise the design was quite uninspiring – it was nothing like, let’s say, Cathay Pacific’s The Pier in Hong Kong.