Review – JAL Sakura Lounge (Near Gate 61) – NRT

There are two Sakura Lounges in the International Terminal at Tokyo-Narita Airport – one near gate 61 and one near gate 92. The Sakura Lounge near gate 61 is essentially JAL’s “flagship” lounge and is massive! After my dismal experience at the Sakura Lounge in San Francisco (SFO), I came in with low expectations for this lounge. But WOW was I wrong!


 

Introduction: Taipei Mileage Running Extravaganza
Review – American Airlines 767-300 Business Class – MIA-JFK
Review – British Airways Galleries Lounge – JFK
Review – Cathay Pacific 777-300ER Business Class – JFK-HKG
Review – Dragon Air G16 Lounge – HKG
Review – Cathay Pacific The Bridge Lounge – HKG
Review – Cathay Pacific The Cabin Lounge – HKG
Review – Cathay Pacific 777-200 Business Class – HKG-TPE
Review – Sheraton Grande Taipei Hotel
Review – The More Lounge – TPE
Review – The Premium Plaza Lounge – TPE
Review – The VIP Airlines Lounge (JAL Contract Lounge) – TPE
Review – JAL 767-300 Economy Class – TPE-NRT/NRT-TPE
Review – JAL Sakura Lounge (Near Gate 61) – NRT

Review – JAL Sakura Lounge (Near Gate 92) – NRT
Review – JAL 777-300ER Economy Class – NRT-LAX
Review – The Club At DFW Lounge (JAL Contract Lounge) – DFW
Review – JAL 787-8 Economy Class – DFW-NRT

As I was on a full fare Y class ticket, I was granted access to this lounge. Anyone flying on a premium economy, business or first class ticket, as well as OneWorld Emerald and Sapphire members all have access to this lounge as well. If you are on a first class ticket, there is a separate area of the lounge that is exclusively for first class passengers.

After clearing security and securing my new boarding pass, I headed straight for the Sakura Lounge near gate 61. Nearly all of JAL’s international flights to the United States depart from the gates near gate 61, so this particular lounge is extremely conveniently located.

Upon rounding the corner towards the 60’s gates, it was near impossible to miss the gorgeous entrance to the Sakura Lounge.

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Upon entering, I presented my boarding pass to the agent who quickly scanned it and directed me towards the escalators. The lounge is two levels, with the upper/entry level containing the dining area and the lower level containing a variety of seating, the business center and the shower rooms.

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Directly ahead when exiting the escalator was a variety of seating.

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The views of the tarmac from the window seats was fantastic!

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Along the back wall were individual booths for those who wished to make phone calls could utilize. I really like this idea as it made the lounge just that much more peaceful and relaxing.

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The restrooms were also located in this area and were spotlessly clean.

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Heading further back, there was a small buffet section that featured some light snacks like cookies, crackers and snack mix.

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Behind it was a stocked bar with a good variety of quality liquors.

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There was also a small selection of white, red and plum wine and sake.

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They also had the fantastic beer machines that give you a perfectly poured beer and a soda dispenser.

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A cooler featured a selection of juices, teas and water, along with some chilled beer glasses.

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There was also a coffee machine that made excellent coffee drinks.

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Continuing back, there was an additional seating area which overlooked a small smoking section that featured a small variety of seating – though it did not appear that it was open.

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In the very back corner was the business center which offered half a dozen or so desktop computers along with printers, scanners, etc.

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On the opposite side of the lower level of the lounge was another large seating area that was wide open and featured a variety of different seating.

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The back section of the lounge featured the shower and spa area. A short spa treatment was complimentary, though I am not big on things like this so I did not partake. I did, however, desperately need a shower after 22 hours of travel and sleeping in a lounge in Taipei. There was never a wait for a shower room and they were not only spotlessly clean, but also gorgeous.

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Each featured a small wood bench to sit down on or place your bag on next to the sink.

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The shower was floor to ceiling slate tiles.

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There was also a wood bench in the back corner of the shower.

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The showerhead featured multiple nozzles and was absolutely fantastic.

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The showers offered pump bottles with soap, shampoo and conditioner, though there were no labels on them to tell what brand they were.

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Since this was Japan, the shower rooms also featured your typical multi-functional heated, cooled, massaging, vibrating, squirting, joke telling, complimenting, ridiculous toilets.

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One thing I really liked about these shower rooms over the Cathay Pacific shower rooms in The Pier was that the shower was completely sealed off from the rest of the room. That means if you took a hot shower, the steam stayed in the shower area while the room itself stayed cool. This is a huge plus for someone like me who sweats a lot normally. There is nothing worse than taking a shower and then feeling like you need another before you leave the room!

I also think that the value of shower rooms in the lounges is greatly underappreciated. When you travel long distances or do something crazy like I did with this mileage/status run, a hot shower really makes the difference between feeling human again and zombie flying. I was skeptical of taking a shower in an airport at first, but it truly does make travel just that much better.

After a great shower each trip back from Taipei (TPE), I headed up to the dining area. The dining area is located upstairs and there was an elevator which you could take up. It was, uh, slow, to say the least.

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One thing to note about the dining area is that JAL is pretty strict about keeping your food in this area. That means that you cannot take your food from the dining area down to the downstairs seating areas.

The buffet was along the back wall and featured a selection of traditional Asian dishes. There was miso soup as well as some type of seafood pancakes.

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Two different types of soup.

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As well as a big vat of freshly steamed rice.

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There were also two hot dishes which consisted of a vegetable fried rice and a meat dish in some type of sweet and sour sauce.

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The back bar offered some small ham and cheese sandwiches and a selection of breads including croissant.

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There was also a make your own salad bar that had a great selection and some mixed fruit in juice.

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On the opposite side of the dining area was a cooler featuring some fruit juices and water.

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Along with a soda machine.

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They also had two of their famous beer machines – and man do they pour a great ice cold beer!

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I will say, the food selection was very limited and not of great quality. It was the first time I have really yearned for an Admirals Club with some hummus and cheese cubes. But the beer was ice cold and the views of the tarmac were fantastic, so I cannot really complain too much.

I ended up making myself a salad and had a few beers while I used the wi-fi to get some work done. The wi-fi was very fast and no matter where I was in the lounge, the connection was excellent.

Final Thoughts

After my first experience with the depressing Sakura Lounge in San Francisco (SFO), I did not really have high expectations going into my experience with JAL’s Sakura Lounge in Tokyo-Narita (NRT) – but boy was I pleasantly surprised by how great it was! The lounge is huge with plenty of seating options and excellent wi-fi. I never had a problem getting a shower room right away and they were spotlessly clean. The only thing that lets this lounge down in my opinion is the food as there is a limited selection and the quality is so-so.

Overall though, I would not hesitate to go out of my way to fly through Tokyo-Narita Airport specifically for the Sakura Lounges there. They are excellent!

What is your favorite lounge at Tokyo-Narita Airport?

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