Reviews

Review: Japan Airlines first class lounge, Tokyo Narita Airport

Overall Rating

By Chris Chamberlin, May 13 2015
Japan Airlines first class lounge, Tokyo Narita Airport
Country

Japan

City

Tokyo

Airport

Tokyo Narita

Alliance

oneworld

Airline

Japan Airlines

Cabin-class

First

Notes
The Good
  • A dining room with both Asian and Western options
  • Free 10-minute spa treatments
  • Access for Qantas Platinum members before Qantas and JAL flights
The Bad
  • No table service in the dining room
X-Factor
  • Delightful made-to-order sushi
Location
Dining
Work
Overall

Introduction

With a dining room, business centre, day spa and private shower suites, the Japan Airlines first class lounge at Tokyo's Narita Airport is a haven for frequent flyers jetting home to Australia, or onwards across Asia or to Europe with JAL.

Better yet, Qantas Platinum and Platinum One members can also stop by before their Qantas flight home to Sydney – or to Brisbane from August – skipping the Qantas business class lounge in favour of Japan Airlines' flagship facility.

Australian Business Traveller stopped by on a recent visit to Japan: here's what we thought.

Location & Impressions

Japan Airlines has two first class lounges at Tokyo Narita – one in the satellite building, and this, the primary lounge in the main terminal – located just beyond outbound passport control on level 3.

The entryway is shared with JAL's business class Sakura Lounge, although you can skip the main reception desks and veer left towards the first class lounge, where you'll find dedicated staff waiting to greet you.

You'll then pass the relaxation area – we'd recommend stopping here first for the best chance at securing spa and shower appointments – before progressing through to the business centre, the general 'lounging' space or the dining room, which comes with great views out onto the tarmac:

Access

  • First class passengers of Japan Airlines, American Airlines and British Airways
  • Qantas Platinum and Platinum One frequent flyers when travelling with Qantas, JAL or any other Oneworld airline
  • JMB Diamond and JGC Premier members flying onwards with JAL, Qantas and all other Oneworld airlines in any class of service
  • Other Oneworld Emerald members – including AA Executive Platinum, BA Executive Club Gold and Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Club Diamond – when travelling with a Oneworld airline

Dining

With a great mix of Japanese and Western-friendly foods, you're certain to find something appealing at the buffet regardless of your culinary tastes.

There's everything from the obligatory salads...

... through to smoked salmon pinchos, chicken stew, Mitsuse chicken liver pâté, chicken gizzard aglio e olio, a ham side and more.

The idea being that the portions are small enough for adventurous diners to try one of everything, or to fall back on a few filling favourites like noodles and rice while still branching out:

All of these dishes were top notch, and although chicken liver isn't something I'd normally salivate over, the pâté was surprisingly tasty and went down a treat.

Each item at the buffet is clearly labelled, and health-conscious travellers will appreciate that the signs also display the number of calories in each serve – and with everything plated up so precisely, it's easy to keep track.

Your meal can also be complemented with both sweet and savoury pickled radish, pickled plums, boiled mountain herbs and more...

... before settling in for JAL's signature beef curry –  a simple dish, but a delicious one.

No visit to the Japan Airlines first class lounge is complete without stopping by the sushi bar, open from 7:30am-12:30pm and again from 3pm-8pm.

On the menu during our visit was Maguro (tuna), prawns and rolled egg with soy sauce on the side – all of which were made fresh to order, were perfectly presented and tasted delightful.

Over in the ice bucket you'll spot Monopole champagne and whites from Italy, with reds from Santa Barbara (USA) on the side, along with saké over by the sushi bar.

Add to that a good selection of spirits and liqueurs...

... and passable espresso coffee, and you'll be set for your journey ahead.

Work

Fast Wi-Fi blankets the lounge, and if you need to recharge your laptop while working away, set up camp at one of the desk areas...

... which come complete with charging cables for the most common types of mobile phones – great if yours is buried at the bottom of your bag or even left at your last hotel.

There are also computers for those travelling without their own kit...

... and private rooms in which to make phone calls, either on your mobile or the payphone.

As the audible use of mobile phones is frowned upon in the common areas of the lounge – as it is in many public areas in Japan – set your phone to vibrate and duck in here if that phone call just can't wait.

Relax

Away from the busy dining areas you'll find plenty of comfortable lounge chairs – whether travelling with a group of colleagues, a partner or even on your lonesome.

There's also a darker relaxation space in the corner of the lounge that's perfect for listening to music (with headphones, of course), or to grow weary ahead of your overnight Japan Airlines or Qantas flight home to Australia.

Add to that a few massage chairs...

... along with complimentary 10-minute treatments at the in-lounge spa – open from 8:30am-12:30pm and again from 3pm-7pm – with a choice of a neck, shoulders and back massage; and both foot and scalp massages.

Private shower suites with their own attached bathrooms are also available in the first class lounge. All were in use when we attemped to use them, although the staff helped to locate an available shower suite in the adjacent (business class) Sakura Lounge to avoid waiting.

We're told the Sakura Lounge shower suites are the same as in the First Lounge
We're told the Sakura Lounge shower suites are the same as in the First Lounge

Guests can make use of the suites up until 30 minutes before their flight's departure time, which allows travellers to sit down to a nice meal, take in a massage, head to the showers and then waltz aboard ready to sleep.

That's a winning combination if there ever was one, and if your passport wallet packs that coveted Qantas Platinum card, it's all there waiting for you when you next depart from Tokyo's Narita Airport with Qantas, Japan Airlines or indeed any Oneworld airline.

Also read: Japan: to catch the plane or the bullet train?

Chris Chamberlin was a guest of Japan Airlines.

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

Holy. Crap.

Do elaborate Rishi – have you had a chance to use this lounge, or indeed the JAL or Qantas business class lounges in Tokyo?

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Aug 2014

Total posts 5

We have used this lounge twice - most recently heading home from Oktoberfest with BA/QF.  Agree with all of the above.  Make sure you also check out the sake bar - the sushi chefs will guide you as to which one/s to try.  The beer pouring machine is also a treat.  Provides the perfect head every time. 

 

We also zip into the QF lounge just before boarding to collect the papers to read on board.

03 Dec 2014

Total posts 2

This is all very good. For those of us who never use or claim our FF points but do fly first class, we would like to know why there is no first class seats all year round by JAL betweeen Sydney and Tokyo (only available between Oct-Mar if JAL feels like it) and Qantas has none and still flies a very old 747. JAL 777-200 does not have flat beds in busineess class and I can't comment on the Qantas plane as I was never in one (most airlines have retired their 747s). My chance of using this fabulous lounge seem remote.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jan 2016

Total posts 4

We're travelling on Jetstar between Tokyo and Melbourne. As a platinum FF, are we able to use this JAL lounge or only the Qantas business lounge?

Appreciate any insight. 

Hi Bozman, you'll find the access rules for this lounge published in the review above – with Jetstar not being a Oneworld airline you have no access to this lounge.

You'll also have no access to the Qantas lounge as Jetstar now uses a different terminal in Tokyo to where the Qantas lounge is located.


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