Due to San Diego’s Japan Airlines flight to Tokyo and back (JL 66 and JL 65) and our history as expats living in Hong Kong, I’ve flown through Tokyo Narita airport more times than I can count.

Each time, I enjoy the facilities at one of the two Japan Airlines Sakura (business class) Lounges or the American Airlines Admirals Club, including on our most recent trip to China a few days ago. The goal of this post is to let readers know what to expect in each of these three lounges.

One other important thing to note is that on Japan Airlines regional flights and 787 planes the top class of service is business class. This means you will use the Sakura Lounge, not the Sakura First Class Lounge even though you’re in the front of the plane. However, if you have status on Japan Airlines or emerald oneworld Alliance status, then you’ll be permitted to use the Sakura First Class lounge.

Which of the two Japan Airlines Sakura Lounges you use depends on the gate you’re departing from. Of course, food offerings are subject to change, but they’ve been more or less the same over the last 9 years.

Sakura Lounge In The Tokyo Narita Satellite Building

Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport

Usually, if you’re taking a connecting flight within Asia or Japan you’ll probably use the Sakura Lounge in the Satellite Building.

Satellite Building Sakura Lounge Food:

Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport Satellite Food

The food hasn’t changed here much over the years. They have:

  • A little sushi including cucumber rolls, ebi sushi, tamago sushi, and perhaps a few other mainstream favorites.
  • Small tea sandwiches–perhaps tuna or tomato with cheese.
  • A butter, cake-like muffin that my daughter loves.
  • Three types of onigiri. I always take the plum one though all are good.
  • Miso soup.
  • Various rolls and pastries.
Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport Satellite Sushi

Other Amenities:

It isn’t tough to find seating with plugs to recharge your devices, which is nice. The back of the lounge has a small area with full body massage chairs.

There is one especially kid-friendly and accessible bathroom. Parents with babies can slip kids into this highchair-type thing on the wall while they freshen up plus there’s a changing table. I so appreciated this when flying long haul with my baby. Toilets are totally Japanese and heated.

An enclosed quiet room permits napping and seating against large windows provides nice views of planes sitting at their gates. The ambiance is a little bit dated, but it’s still comfortable and I like it. They do make boarding announcements.

Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge In The Main Building

Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport Main Building

I love, love, love this lounge. It’s larger and newer with a much heartier food offering. In fact, during our recent visit there were noticeably more Chinese options. The bar is self-serve until 3:00pm when bartenders become available to pour and mix drinks. It’s like a real bar with stools, a TV and an elegant yet festive atmosphere.

Main Building Sakura Lounge Food:

  • The beef curry is divine though there’s more sauce than beef, usually. I don’t care.
  • Premium Japanese rice
  • Chinese noodles
  • Dim sum
  • A small salad bar (love the Japanese dressing)
  • Potato salad (heavy on the mayonnaise)
  • A creamy soup
  • Miso soup
  • A beef cheek dish
  • Lots of Japanese pickles
  • Chirashi (a rice dish with egg and mushrooms that was actually cut up into squares)
  • Muffins, croissants and rolls

Here, you could eat a full meal. Note that there aren’t any sushi rolls or nigiri. Once, I remember eating cucumber rolls here but this is rare.

Other Amenities:

Upstairs is the bar and dining area while downstairs has a small children’s area and quieter lounging space. I almost always just stay upstairs. I used to lay out a blanket on the floor of the bar area for my daughter to sit and play on. There are also a number of high chairs available for use in the dining area. The baby seats I mention above are also in these bathrooms… love.

Electrical outlets are a bit harder to find upstairs. There’s one near the window at the bar and another near the window in the dining area.

You can also read about the first class Japan Airlines lounge at Narita. It’s divine.

Tokyo Narita American Airlines Admirals Club

American Airlines Admirals Club Tokyo Narita Airport

Located in the Main Terminal near gate 71, the Tokyo Narita American Airlines Admirals Club is also not a bad place to hang out. If you’ve been in China or Japan, it’s a bit of a shock to sit in the company of so many Americans again, to be completely honest. People talk a lot on their cell phones here.

They play CNN World on both TVs. The food is just OK. If you’re starving, you’re probably better off dining at one of the terminal restaurants versus here. Upon exiting the lounge, there’s a small cafe near the gates.

Admirals Club Food:

  • California rolls and inari sushi
  • Whole apples and bananas
  • Quiche
  • Cheese wedges in foil and packaged Saltines.
  • Pickles
  • Japanese crackers
  • A few odd, individually-wrapped wraps (not for the health conscious)
  • A ham and cheese hot pastry

It’s more gut-bomb-like than healthy, definitely. Of course, a variety of self-serve wine, juice, soda and spirits are on offer as well as an Asahi machine. The wine in the JAL lounges is much better, though I can’t speak for the spirits.

Other Amenities:

There are multiple seating areas though again, we usually hang out near the food. Plugs are plentiful, though I can see finding one challenging during peak times. There’s a business center and showers, too, as well as a baby changing table in the ladies bathroom.

This Admirals Club is about a 5 minute or so walk from the Main Building Sakura Lounge. You can access it with an Admirals Club membership or if you’re flying business or first class on American Airlines that day. Since I’m an Admirals Club member, we stopped into both lounges during our long layover.

Final Thoughts

I prefer the Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge in the Main Building though all will do. Duty free shopping and snacks can be found near all of them, too. Have you been to any of these lounges? I’d love your feedback!

Read more about one of our recent Japan Airlines flights from San Diego to Tokyo Narita in Executive Class.

Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide, like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai, that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).

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  1. Why are (Y) passengers permitted to the lounge? People pay 2-4x the price for (J) so it doesn't seem fair that JAL let's everyone in.