Besides a pair of domestic business class lounges, JAL also operates a pair of business class lounges for its international passengers at Tokyo Haneda airport. In fact, the airline is currently in the process of refurbishing the latter. More specifically, it’s now working on the lounge in the central part of Haneda’s international terminal.
The other one – the JAL Sakura Lounge Skyview – was reopened at the end of October 2019. As I had a chance to visit the lounge last month, below is a review showing what it’s like inside.
Location, Opening Hours & Access
While the main lounge which will be reopened in March 2020 is located right after security, across from gate 112, the Skyview Lounge is located a bit further to the left, just past gate 114. It’s located in the same area as the excellent Cathay Pacific Lounge as well as a number of other lounges.
The lounge can be found on the fifth floor.
The Sakura Lounge Skyview is open every day from 6AM until 2:45AM.
Of course, the lounge can be accessed by JAL’s business and first class passengers. Interestingly, though, it can also be accessed by the airline’s premium economy – and even full-fare regular economy class – passengers.
JAL Mileage Bank Sapphire and Diamond members as well as JAL Global Club members – as well as other oneworld programs’ elite status holders – departing on oneworld flights can access the lounge regardless of their class of travel.
Besides a reception desk staffed by friendly but professional attendants, the lobby area also featured a cloak with luggage lockers. The entrance led into the central part of the lounge.
Roughly speaking, it consisted of two main parts – a lounging area to the left of the entrance and a dining area to the right.
The main part of the lounging area was the “SKY Lounge” which was essentially a large open space with a lot of seating and a pair of drink stations.
While it offered excellent views of the apron, the seating was not that comfortable, consisting of simple chairs in sets of two and four as well as row of tables for one along the windows.
Next to the above was a more comfortable seating area with some lounging chairs and large leather sofa chairs.
This area was a bit more colorful and while the chairs were mostly arranged in rows, the space was divided into smaller areas by wooden walls and shielded from the aisles by drink stations and magazine racks, providing some sense of privacy.
In the very back, there was also a darker lounging area that felt more upscale than the rest of the lounge.
It featured a large counter with drinks and some snacks as well as seating in the form of a communal table with chairs as well as more than a dozen sofa chairs arranged in sets of four in the middle of the area and in a single row along one of the walls.
As mentioned above, the other side of the JAL Sakura Lounge Skyview was made up of the dining area.
The central feature of that was a buffet spread across two kitchen islands and a counter. I’ll talk more about the contents of the buffet in the next section of this review.
As for the seating in the dining area, it consisted of a counter with counter-height chairs along the windows, four or five communal tables each seating ten people, as well as about three dozen tables for two.
Separately from all the seating, the lounge was also equipped with my favorite feature of all Japanese lounges – phone booths.
Those certainly help make the lounge visit a more pleasant experience for everyone – for those that need to make phone calls as well as for those that don’t need to listen to those calls (i.e. everyone except for the caller).
While the lounge wasn’t equipped with showers, guests could use the showers at TIAT Lounge Annex which was next door to the Sakura Lounge Skyview.
Food and Drinks
Drinks could be found at the multiple drink stations spread throughout the lounge. While each of them had roughly the same selection of soft drinks, alcohol could only be found at those in the dining area and in the “darker lounging area.”
Soft drinks included soda from a dispenser as well as bottled tonic water and Perrier. There were also juices – including JAL’s signature Sky Time kiwi drink – and other still drinks in pitchers.
Hot drinks included a selection of coffee from coffee machines as well as selection of Steuarts Ceylon teas.
As for alcoholic drinks, there were the – for Japanese lounges – obligatory automated draft beer dispensers.
There was also a selection of sake and wine including Laurent-Perrier La Cuvee Brut champange. About twelve kinds of liquor were offered.
Some snacks including Kit Kat chocolate bars and rice crackers could be found at the drink stations outside of the dining area. Other than that, all of the food in the lounge was spread across the buffet counters in the dining area.
Lighter items included some salads, steamed chicken, spring rolls, and wraps. There were also a selection of Maison Kayser bread and pastries, taiyaki, mushrooms, and sushi.
There were also shrimp bisque, potato soup, miso soup, and udon noodles. Beef curry – JAL Lounges’ signature dish – was available as well.
Other mains included pork dumplings, blue cheese cream penne, and tandoori chicken.
Desserts included cut fruits, mochi, and mousse cakes.
JAL Sakura Lounge Skyview Haneda Summary
Overall, the JAL Sakura Lounge Skyview offered a decent place to relax before a flight. It was bright, offered a lot of seating, it was empty during my visit (although I believe it can get crowded during the rush hour), and the food and drinks selection was on par with what one would expect.
That said, rather than visiting this lounge again, I would opt for a visit to the Cathay Pacific Lounge the next time since that one offers a cozier atmosphere and better seating, the same great apron views as the Skyview Lounge, and a staffed bar and an a la carte dining menu.