The benefit to booking economy flight ticket would be the price. The benefit of purchasing (or upgrading to) Premium Economy flight with JAL? The access to their wonderful lounge! This is one of those things where “you didn’t know you needed/wanted it until you found out of the existence of it.”
I never had the opportunity to visit and use the JAL Sakura lounge, and I never really needed it…until now. Once I had the taste of the wonderful, amazing experience, I don’t know how to go on without it… The lounge is located in the Terminal 2, and has golden logo and sign by the entrance. As soon as you enter, there is a long counter with staff waiting to welcome you (and check your flight tickets and ID).
The Sakura lounge is separated into two floors. The first floor has lots of chairs for relaxing and chilling out. They had lounge chair, bar stool, and few different type of chairs, to meet preference of all types of passengers. The interesting part was that they (staff) don’t really want you to walk around there with your luggage. Since it was our first time at the Sakura Lounge, we didn’t know any rules (or preference) here… But not to worry, the staff here are all super professional and extremely helpful. They came to us and helped us to put our luggage in the locker close to the entrance. The lockers are pretty large, enough to put your carry-on luggage in there with no issue. You will be given a key to your locker, and you can take it out any time you need. It really was much better to relax in the lounge without carrying the luggage and bags!
The second floor of the lounge is a dining area. We went up the grand staircase, which was really beautiful, towards where all the yummy scent was coming from.
The food is served buffet style, you can take as much food as you like, of your preference. The most popular item is their JAL Original Beef Curry. I have heard about their curry, so I was very excited to try the curry, among other offerings.
So, the two main things we tried were the JAL Original Beef Curry with rice, and Spicy Sichuan Mabo Tofu. The curry was really good, deep flavor of spice and beef, not too spicy. The Mabo Tofu was pretty spicy, and you can have it as is, or over the rice. I had it over rice to make the spiciness toned down a bit. It was really flavorful and delicious as well. If you love spicy food, this one is great.
We also had corn chowder and miso soup. The corn chowder was soooo good, it was really tasty! Miso soup was ok, better than most miso soup you get at non-Japanese owned Japanese restaurant in NYC. All good quality staff here at Sakura Lounge. The mistake we made was that we didn’t come here hungry… Next time, we will be sure NOT to eat anything beforehand, so that we will be very hungry when we get there!
Another yummy treat they had was these Hazelnuts Cookies from Quil Fait Bon store. Oh my goodness it was good! Sweet without being overly sweet, soft and moist, nice texture and amazing flavor. I am glad I didn’t know anything about this store while I was in Japan, otherwise, I am sure I made some crazy purchases in their store…
The lounge offers more than just good food, but also, drinks! For beer drinkers out there, they have The Premium Malts Santory Beer dispenser. pretty cool. They have chilled beer glasses inside the refrigerator nearby, and you can just fill it up with nice, ice cold beer. Great, right?
Not a beer drinker? No problem. They have excellent collection of wine and liqueur as well. They is a self-service bar counter, filled with all sorts of seasonal wines, liqueur, and also, Japanese sake. They even had some sparking wines.
And the good thing about this lounge is that they really think about their customers. They don’t just put the drinks at one spot of the nice size dining floor, but also on the other side of the room as well, so if you are sitting far away from the bar counter, you don’t have to walk all across the room to get to the drinks. Both sections were very well stocked, and offered the same drinks. You can also get tonic water, juice, and carbonated water to go with your liqueur as well.
We tied two kinds of sake; plum wine (or liqueur) and Bikoo Shochu. The plum wine was sweet and tangy, I enjoyed it very much. The shochu was really strong, of course, as we had it straight. This shochu was distilled spirits made from buckwheat, had very deep flavor, slightly sweet, and very smooth.
They had some nibbles by the drinks, which were rice crackers with nuts, and they were really tasty, very addictive! Went great with any drinks. Couldn’t get enough of this…
While were eating, the JAL lounge staff were working hard to keep the space clean, and they do an amazing job. They came to pick up the dirty dishes, cleaned our table, made sure we were well taken care of. The lounge was very organized and clean, even thought the amount of passengers keep coming and going, it was always calm and relaxing. They also have a “relaxation room” there, which we didn’t get to use. They have a nap room, massage room (you can reserve a masseuse) , and also, room with massage chairs. Other amenities are business room with computers and such, and kids room if you are traveling with family.
The staff were all very polite, friendly, and helpful. The lounge was clean from top to bottom. The unlimited food and drinks were delicious and comforting. What more can I say, it was much better experience than I could’ve hoped for. Can’t wait to go back to the lounge, and maybe we will get some good massage time also!
JAL Sakura Lounge – Narita International Airport, Terminal 2