Contributed by Hirofumi Suda
Besides numerous domestic lounges at airports throughout Japan, Japan Airlines also operates a network of international JAL Sakura Lounges both in and out of Japan.
The ones in Japan can be found at Tokyo Narita, Tokyo Haneda, Nagoya Centrair, and Osaka Kansai airports.
Some months ago, I had a chance to visit the international JAL Sakura Lounge at Osaka Kansai airport prior to catching a Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore.
Read this review to see what the lounge was like.
Are you interested in trying business or first class for the price of economy?
If so, you might want to check out Four Ways to Try Business Class Without Breaking the Bank - a free guide that I put together detailing some of the ways I was able to do so - and experiment with some of the methods mentioned in it.
Location, Opening Hours & Access
The international JAL Sakura Lounge at Osaka Kansai airport is located airside – after immigration and security check. It can be found between gates 37 and 38, and is open between 7:00AM and 12:40AM every day.
Besides admitting premium class and elite passengers of Japan Airlines and its oneworld partner, it is also used by some other airlines. Some of those include Singapore Airlines, China Airlines, Emirates, Garuda Indonesia, Air China, and Vietnam Airlines.
The first area that could be found past the lounge’s reception was a locker room.
Going further, there was a dining area with the buffet and some dining and communal tables. When I visited the lounge – around 8:30AM – the dining area was quite packed, and there was a queue in front of the buffet.
Luckily, the rest of the lounge was less crowded.
The rest mainly consisted of a lounging area with rows of sofa chairs. Other than that, there was a smoking room, a small business center with a printer, and a partitioned off area with a pair of massage chairs.
There was plenty of power outlets available throughout the lounge, and there was even a mobile phone charger on one of the counters in the dining area.
No showers were available in the lounge.
Before talking about the food and drinks in the lounge, I should also mentioned that the lounge offered nice views of the tarmac.
Food and Drinks
Now, let’s continue with the highlight of the lounge – the food and drinks. Both of those were considerably better than at JAL’s lounge at Tokyo Narita airport – perhaps because Osaka is the “food capital” of Japan.
Starting with soft drinks, there were pitchers with milk, ice tea, and JAL’s original Sky Time kiwi drink among other drinks, and there was a soda dispenser.
There was also a coffee machine and a limited selection (green and black) of teas.
Alcoholic drinks included three different Japanese brands of beer – Kirin, Asahi, and Suntory – served from automatic dispensers, as well as a selection of wine and liquor.
The part that impressed me the most, though, was the selection of “umeshu” (plum wines) limited to this JAL Sakura Lounge. There were three types – normal, mandarin orange-flavor, and honey-flavor – bottled on Kii Peninsula near Kansai airport.
Not coincidentally, the peninsula is famous in Japan for its plums, mandarin oranges, and honey.
As for food, there was the beef curry that JAL is well known for. In addition to that, though, there was also Halal-certified vegetable curry – that one is not available in the airline’s lounge at Narita airport.
Lighter items included a salad bar, some Japanese pickles, a selection of breads, and tortillas. There were also “pork cutlet sandwiches” and “fruit sandwiches” – both of which are considered to be Osaka’s invention.
There were also some snacks such as rice crackers and cookies.
Finally, hot items other than the curry mentioned earlier included minestrone and miso soups, simmered mixed vegetables, sausages, and omelettes.
JAL Sakura Lounge Osaka Kansai Summary
While the lounge – especially its dining area – can get crowded at times, it’s still a nice place to visit if you have some time to spare before taking your flight out of Kansai airport.
During my visit, there were plenty of seats to choose from, and the food and drinks selection was good as well. Especially so the selection of local items including pork cutlet and fruit sandwiches as well as plum wines.
It’s also worth mentioning that the lounge’s buffet spread was much better than the one that can be found in JAL Sakura Lounge at one of the airline’s hubs, Narita airport.