Review: ANA Arrivals Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport

Filed Under: Airport Lounge Reviews, ANA

Our flight from Chicago arrived at 2:10PM, and our connecting flight to Nagoya was at 5:05PM, so we had just under three hours.

Immigration was super efficient. I find that Narita has really inconsistent wait times, though we were the only flight arriving at that time, it seemed. They even have fast track passes for premium passengers in Terminal 1, though that ended up taking longer than just using the regular line. That’s because they don’t just take the passes from you, but they have to enter all kinds of information in the computer before they let you through.

Once we were in the arrivals hall we followed the signage towards the domestic area of the terminal, which was immediately to the right. This was really easy to find — the check-in counters were only a few steps away.

The check-in queues were short, and there was even a separate business class line. To my surprise, they didn’t even ask to check the size of our carry-ons, which were probably technically a little too big for a flight within Japan.

ANA domestic check-in Narita Airport

The escalators to the domestic terminal were close by.

Narita Airport domestic departures area

Just next to that elevator was the ANA Arrivals Lounge. The sign noted that the domestic terminal doesn’t have a lounge, so this is also the lounge for premium class passengers, as well as Star Alliance Gold members, traveling on domestic flights.

So the ANA Arrivals Lounge is open to:

  • ANA first & business class passengers arriving on international flights
  • ANA Diamond, Platinum, and Super Flyer members arriving on international flights
  • Premium class and Star Alliance Gold passengers departing on domestic flights

ANA Arrivals Lounge signage

The ANA Arrivals Lounge is open daily from 6:30AM until 7:30PM, so that should cover just about all departures and a majority of arrivals.

ANA Arrivals Lounge Narita exterior

We scanned our boarding passes at the entrance to the lounge, and were reminded by the staff that we still had to clear security, so should leave time for that. Just inside the entrance to the lounge was a business center with some communal workstations.


ANA Arrivals Lounge Narita business center

There were also some magazines and newspapers near the entrance, though they were almost exclusively in Japanese.


ANA Arrivals Lounge Narita magazines & newspapers

The lounge was quite large, and wasn’t very crowded. So while the decor was fine, unfortunately it didn’t have any natural light, which sure is challenging after a long haul flight where you need that to stay awake.

The lounge had rows of seats in the center facing one another, and then along the walls they had rows with pairs of seats, separated by drapes.


ANA Arrivals Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport


ANA Arrivals Lounge Narita seating


ANA Arrivals Lounge Narita seating


ANA Arrivals Lounge Narita seating

Towards the back of the lounge was even more seating.


ANA Arrivals Lounge Narita seating

Off to the side was yet another room with more seating.


ANA Arrivals Lounge Narita seating

The dining area and buffet were back towards the entrance of the lounge.


ANA Arrivals Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport


ANA Arrivals Lounge Narita dining area


ANA Arrivals Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport buffet

I’m not sure what exactly the dining tables were for, though, since there wasn’t exactly much to dine on. 😉 The food selection was really limited, and included some wrapped finger sandwiches, bread rolls, pastries, a very limited selection of sushi, crackers, and candy.


ANA Arrivals Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport snacks


ANA Arrivals Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport snacks


ANA Arrivals Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport snacks


ANA Arrivals Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport snacks


ANA Arrivals Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport snacks


ANA Arrivals Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport snacks

The drink selection included coffee, juice, water, soda, beer, and a limited selection of liquor.


ANA Arrivals Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport coffee & tea


ANA Arrivals Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport drinks


ANA Arrivals Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport drinks


ANA Arrivals Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport drinks

We spent a bit over an hour in the lounge working, as we connected to the Narita Airport  free wifi network.

At that point we decided we had to leave the lounge, since the light deprivation was really getting to us, and we could barely stay awake. Narita Airport has a pretty nice shopping & dining area that’s located landside, so we walked around there for a bit, just to get some movement.

Narita Airport shopping & dining area

With boarding for our flight scheduled to start at 4:35PM, we decided to head towards security around 4:15PM. There was a sign indicating that there were no bathrooms airside due to renovation work. Ouch.

Narita domestic terminal refurbishment work

While the security checkpoint was empty when we walked up to it a couple of hours prior, it was packed at this point.

There was a priority security line, which saved us quite a bit of time. Funny enough as we got through security a guy came running up to Ford with a measuring tape to measure his bag. Oddly he measured it and then walked away and didn’t say anything, even though I have to imagine it was probably too big?

The domestic ANA departures area at Narita is quite small, which isn’t too surprising given how few flights there are (most people take the train within Japan, and Haneda Airport also has more domestic departures).

We were departing from Gate F.

ANA domestic terminal Narita


ANA domestic terminal Narita

Boarding started at 4:35PM, exactly as expected, and was orderly.

ANA departure gate

At this point I had three boarding passes — my initial boarding pass, then I was handed another sheet of paper at security, and then I was handed another sheet of paper when I boarded. Is that really necessary?

Lots of boarding passes

All the domestic departures are from remote stands, so we got onto a bus. Fortunately it was about as civilized of a remote stand departure as you’ll ever find. There was no pushing or shoving, and when the bus was ready to depart an ANA representative walked onto the bus, confirmed our flight number, said “thank you for waiting,” and bowed.

“Thank you for waiting”

We had a roughly five minute drive to our nearby 737.

Bus to plane

ANA Arrivals Lounge Narita bottom line

While the domestic Japanese flying experience is pleasant enough, it’s not exactly a seamless passenger experience. The lounge is located landside and there are no bathrooms airside.

The arrivals itself was alright. The lounge was spacious and had fast wifi, though that’s about all I can say — the lounge had no natural light, and also had a lackluster food & beverage selection.

In other words, this isn’t one of the best airport lounges I’ve been to, but was an okay place to wait prior to a domestic flight. Though I can’t imagine ever using this as an arrivals lounge, short of showering here.

If you’ve used the ANA Arrivals Lounge and/or flew domestically on ANA within Japan, what was your experience like?

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Comments
  1. For how amazing of a country Japan is (I lived there for 9 years, my wife is Japanese, I am fluent in the language), their lounge game is awful. The lounges at Narita are barebones and Haneda doesn’t even have a single lounge at all. It’s unbelievable.

  2. Looks lousy to me even before reading the comments
    Yet I’ve heard good things about their inflight experience
    I stopped flying Singapore Airlines in First Class out of Sydney as I really enjoy the Qantas
    First class lounge in architecture Dining Spa and amenities
    I try and go First with a One World Partner
    Good Lounges make a difference between dreading the airport experience or looking forward to it

  3. Lucky, they’re rice balls / onigiri, not sushi. They contain no vinegars, common portable lunch items to work / school.

    You didn’t mention, and you probably didn’t realize, but you can bring through your liquid in domestic flights in Japan: subject to inspection. I was instructed to open my water bottle.

    I agree, the lounge is barebone, especially for pax who just arrived in f. Luckily there are many places to eat landside including a good selection of fast food, mostly in city prices.

  4. Japanese living elsewhere here. I have spent countless hours in that lounge during my connection for international arrival to domestic. I agree food selection is quite lousy but most people are primarily there for the shower and drinks. Narita as Lucky pointed out has quite an extensive food offerings on the land side which the lounge is located. There are also countless take out “bento” options where you can grab food (or beer) to go. Consequently I feel as much of Japanese population doesn’t really have high expectations for lounge food rather we will go hit up places we know are good food in the terminal.

  5. Wait, no mention or photos of the showers/bathrooms? Arguably, those are the most useful features of an Arrivals lounge, so why are they missing from the review?

  6. This lounge is “okay?” Wow! You’re becoming overly charitable with lounge reviews if your past reviews are any indication. I recall a scathing review of the Alitalia JFK lounge back in 2017 when you called it a “dump” and “depressing,” and “embarrassing,” and it was solidly better than this one.

  7. @ Donna — I dunno, I was in the Alitalia JFK lounge a few weeks ago, and this looks significantly better (not even factoring in that this is essentially a domestic lounge, rather than an international lounge on a flagship route).

  8. @Lucky
    It’s an onigiri not a sushi.

    Careful if NH sees you posted “To my surprise, they didn’t even ask to check the size of our carry-ons,”
    They might send you an apology letter and give you some extra miles for not doing their jobs properly.

    For the 3 documents, it is much more useful than you think. For people with real jobs involving bunch of transaction, having paper trail helps a lot.
    1. Your boarding pass, we all know what it’s for.
    2. You did passed through security. Imagine how easy to sneak pass TSA, and they probably have to review hours of tape to verify that.
    3. You did board the plane. Think of those countless times FA goes down the aisle few times with a clicker then go on PA asking for ….. to ring the call button. Not easy for on time departure doing that.

    Missing one of those should flag you for extra scrutiny.
    If you still think it’s not necessary, go ask Marilyn Hartman.

    @Donna

    AZ JFK lounge is pretty bad. I would say on par to slightly worse than this. Another fact from the AZ dump, In the past few years I tried to use their shower, they always said they don’t have towels. Then the few times I brought my towel they said it was broken. Now I believe it doesn’t exist anymore. All I can say is over dozen times visiting that place over the last 5 years I never saw their shower.

  9. Not sure that is better than the JAL arrival lounge situation and that’s saying something. At Haneda your business (or first) class boarding pass gets you a free shower at the showers next to the tully’s Coffee in arrivals. There’s always a wait in the morning.

    At Narita they send you to the capsule hotel in the basement of the car park for a shower ( and a nap if you want).

    Both are welcome, and I guess at least with NH you can get some coffee and an onigiri.

    If flying domestic on JAL you have to wait till the domestic lounge to get a shower. The showers are good but the lounge is similarly basic, although the JAL curry pan is quite good.

  10. This is almost as depressing as the Cathay arrivals lounge in Hong Kong which is now (mercifully) closed permanently. It was certainly not up to Cathay standards.

  11. I used this lounge a few years ago and I was connecting Narita to Haneda. The showers are really the redeeming factor of this lounge. Everything else was very dull. Pretty much after the shower I decided to head to Haneda for my flight to Sydney, and got to enjoy a much nicer lounge

  12. Lucky: “light depravation” is totally, totally different to “light deprivation” ! LOL!

  13. My guess is the security guy didn’t speak any English. While Ford’s bag was too big, without the ability to communicate this, he probably decided it was better to let you all through than risk offense in trying to overcome the language barrier.

  14. I’ve seen more attractive waiting areas at government offices! Grim beyond belief. At least at NRT you don’t have to take a ticket and wait for your number to be called. Or do you…?

  15. Good review Ben. I was in the ANA lounge at Heneda last week flying to Germany it was excellent including the self pouring beer and noodle bar.

  16. A bit of background about Narita. It is primarily an international airport. Star Alliance airlines depart from Terminal 1, and there are only 26 domestic flights departing in a regular day (mostly ANA), due to limitation on of takeoff/landing slots. Most are for major distant airports (particularly Sapporo and Fukuoka); many more domestic flights from Haneda, a 90 minute express bus ride. With so few flights, the domestic departure area is not large (space is at a premium at Narita). In addition, no need to arrive early, since security is typically very efficient (5 min or less domestic via the fast track route, less than 10 min for international in my experience, half a dozen per year for 30 years). And there are at least 3 express trains each hour from Tokyo, fast and on time. No reason to hang out in domestic departure areas (which are mainly for those connecting from intl flights).
    Similarly, at Haneda airport I schedule to arrive 1 hr before a domestic flight (at least 15 arrivals an hour on train or monorail), walk from train to and thru security area to ANA lounge in 15 min, and then 25-30 min before departure walk to the gate; 767 and 777s board in 20 min at most (really). ANA Gold lounge at Haneda domestic is pleasant, with large windows; hot drinks, juice, draft beer, sake, and crackers. Japanese domestic lounges are not big on food, in part because one spends so little time there.

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