JAL First Class Lounge in Tokyo Narita Airport Terminal 2

Normally passengers in Business Class only have access to the Business Class lounges, as First Class lounges have always been a rarity. Both my inbound and connecting flight at Narita does not have First Class onboard so unless I was an elite Japan Airlines (JAL) member or oneworld Emerald (highest tier) member, I would not have been able to enter this lounge. However by chance, JAL does not open their Business class lounges due to the Covid pandemic. Instead, they opened the First Class lounge to all Business class connecting passengers and that gave me the opportunity to review this lounge.

JAL Sakura Lounge reception on the ground floor, closed due to Covid
Signs for the JAL lounges

Japan Airlines has 2 lounges in their main hub at Narita Airport Terminal 2, the largest one being located across from the central immigration counters. This is also the only lounge open due to Covid and the First Class lounge is located on the second floor here, access being provided via the escalators. It is difficult to miss the lounge entrance as there was several signs there and they even have a staff assisting connecting passengers.

Entrance to the JAL First Class lounge

As expected with only one lounge open, it is quite busy and there was plenty of people requesting access. Fortunately there was also several receptionists to assist. After presenting my mobile boarding pass at the counter, the receptionist provided instructions with a leaflet in English on how to request for food and shower room by scanning the QR code on each tables. The Japanese approach to hospitality is also present here with the addition of a side table for passengers to place their bags while requesting access. This is a much appreciated design feature that should be more actively encouraged at all reception desks.

Reception and corridor at the JAL First Class lounge

First order of the day was to reserve the shower room and that means I need to get some data. Lounge wifi is easy to access without password and that is essential to use the QR codes. After reserving a slot for the showers, I check out the food options as I drop my stuff at the dining area located on the left side of the lounge.

Inside the First Class dining section

Most of the food are made to order and I was pleased to find sushi being offered alongside curry rice, both a highlight of JAL lounges, with the sushi only found in the First Class lounges! Below are the list of food available on order from the link provided by the QR codes found on the tables. However guests dining in the lounge should note to order from the QR code they are seated at since the food will be delivered to that particular table by the staff.

The sushi was definitely the highlight here since it has been a while I had a sushi made by a proper Japanese chef. And what better way to have it while in Japan. I also appreciate guests could order the individual sushis by the piece to avoid waste.

Lounge was quite busy since there were several departing flights at this time but I was right in choosing the left section which was the quieter dining area across from the sushi counter, and that was the closest one could observe the sushi chef. Since I had some time before my sushi arrived, I head out in search of drinks.

First Class dining space across from the sushi counter
Main dining area

I proceed further inside the lounge to find the main dining area packed with more people. There was a nice bar rotunda and plenty more tables with translucent partitions that add privacy and shields guests from infections (just in case).

The seating in this section is more suitable for guests who wants to work and eat since the long tables have individual reading lights making for a better lit area. There are also more open seating areas by the windows for those needing space.

Aside from the food available for order, there was some snacks by the bar area. This is found around the lounge, and this section of the lounge is also where guests will end up in when turning right from the reception. There is a large bar here with several staff working that could prepare cocktails. Next to the bar is a self-service beverage area.

Bar and snacks console

Beverages are self serve in this area. There was automated beer pouring machines, which is always a joy to use when in Japanese airport lounges, and wine/sake serving machines. Even the soft drinks were dispensed through a touch screen panel, and this is definitely a high tech modern lounge fit for the digital age.

Buffet island and beverage counters
Touch screen espresso machine and soft drinks dispenser

Guests in a hurry can also avail themselves to a selection of packed snacks. There was a mixed nuts & fruits packet and a mini chocolate chips cookies pack along with JAL signature candies.

Assorted snacks in the console

After getting my Calpis drink from the dispenser, I returned to my table by the sushi counter and was pleased to find my sushi ready on the tray. A pair of chopsticks was provided along with a side plate containing soy sauce. There was also a pack of wet towels. I ordered an additional piece of tuna sushi and a taiyaki (fish shaped pancake containing red bean paste). The sushi was amazing but the taiyaki less so, and those few slices of sushi just fit the bill for an afternoon snack.

Sushi and taiyaki

From the bar and kitchen, there was a corridor leading to other areas of the lounge with an elevator at the end that leads to the Sakura Lounge which is also the Business class section. On the right side of this corridor there was a pair of tables with 4 seats each for groups who wish to hold a conversation.

Walkway to the elevator in the First Class lounge
Lounge area beside the corridor

On the left side, there was several private telephone booths where guests are encouraged to use when making telephone calls. There is also another secluded lounge space here mainly with lounge armchairs and small side tables. This section also houses 2 massage chairs which was occupied when I visited. An espresso machine with a selection of snacks is also placed in this section as this space is for guests to relax with the lighting here dimmed accordingly.

Private telephone cubicles
Armchairs with small tables

Next to the elevators at the end of the hallway, there was private storage lockers where guests could store their luggage with a PIN pad to secure the lockers.

Lockers by the elevators

[url=https://flic.kr/p/2nnvwWP][img][/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2nnvwWP][/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/quirrow/]Andrew Wee[/url], on Flickr

[url=https://flic.kr/p/2nnnHDt][img][/img][/url][url=https://flic.kr/p/2nnnHDt]Dining foyer[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/quirrow/]Andrew Wee[/url], on Flickr

Dining foyer

As I mentioned earlier, I also made a reservation for a shower room and was placed 4th in queue. There are a total of 7 showers available on the 3rd floor Business class lounge, just one floor below. As a point to note, I was in the lounge at around 5:10pm, and an email was sent at 5:52pm informing me of the availability. One drawback is that guests have to constantly check their email since no staff will come over to call the guests. I made my way down using the elevators where there was a small reception counter for the staff handling the shower room reservations.

Private shower room in the Sakura Lounge

The shower room was very nicely furnished and there was plenty of space including closets by the entryway to place bags and hang your clothes.

Closet in the shower room

There is a shower stall beside the closet fitted with a rain shower and hand held shower along with a complete set of bath toiletries. Both water pressure and temperature was excellent and made for a refreshing quick shower, perfect for airport lounges. The amenities supplied in the shower room was similar to those one would find in a higher end onsen (Japanese bath houses) and would be familiar to those who frequent those establishments.

Stall with rainshower
Bath toiletries in the lounge

Final Word

After the shower it was time to the leave the lounge for my connecting flight and the time I spent in the lounge was nice since much of the passengers started to leave as I was having my sushi. Japan Airlines First Class lounge had nicer food & beverage compared to ANA Suite lounges which I had reviewed before. This is due to the freshly prepared sushi and the provision of Calpis as a non-alcoholic soft drink, which happens to be one of my favourite vending machine drink in Japan. In addition, the bright space along with modern touches highlighted Japan’s approach to interior design. The sectional spaces also works better here with each catering to different functions and needs of passengers in transit.

Partitioned seating in the lounge

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