Review: Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge Kansai Osaka Airport (KIX)

Review: Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge Kansai Osaka Airport (KIX)

NAME: Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge
Airport: KIX
DATE: October 2023
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: The Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge at Kansai Airport is very basic, and can get crowded, given that it's used as a contract lounge by many airlines. Don't spend more time here than you need to.
12

After an amazing time in Japan, it was time to start our pretty direct journey home, as we flew Japan Airlines’ 787 business class from Kansai-Osaka to Los Angeles, and American’s 787 business class from Los Angeles to Miami.

Our first stop for the return journey was the Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge at Kansai-Osaka Airport (KIX). Honestly, this isn’t a very good lounge. It was crowded and it felt like it could use a refresh. Nonetheless, the staff were friendly (as you’d expect in Japan), and the food and drink selection was reasonably decent. Let’s get into the review…

Japan Airlines Lounge Kansai-Osaka location

We had checked in online for our flight, so upon arriving at the airport we headed straight through security and then immigration. Even though the airport was busy, we managed to get through all those formalities in no time.

Once in the airside area of the terminal, Japan Airlines’ international lounge is located in the South Wing of the airport, which requires taking a train. So we turned right, and followed the signage in the direction of gates 27-37.

Terminal Kansai-Osaka Airport

The trains between different parts of the terminal run frequently, so within a few minutes we were in the South Wing.

Terminal Kansai-Osaka Airport

Once in the South Wing, we headed in the direction of gate 37, which is where the entrance to the Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge is.

Terminal Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge entrance Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge entrance Kansai-Osaka Airport

Japan Airlines Lounge Kansai-Osaka hours

The Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge in the international terminal of Kansai-Osaka Airport is currently open daily from 7:30AM until 12:30AM. The hours may vary over time based on flight schedules. Since this is also used as a contract lounge, you can assume that the hours aren’t just adjusted based on Japan Airlines’ schedule, but also based on the schedule of other airlines.

Japan Airlines Lounge Kansai-Osaka entry requirements

The Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge follows standard oneworld lounge access rules, meaning it’s open to all oneworld Emerald and Sapphire members, as well as all oneworld first and business class passengers. For those curious, Japan Airlines’ international destinations out of Kansai-Osaka include Los Angeles, Honolulu, Bangkok, Shanghai, and Taipei.

However, beyond Japan Airlines, the Sakura Lounge is used as the contract lounge for all airlines departing from the satellite portion of this terminal. That includes everything from China Eastern, to China Southern, to Juneyao Air, to Philippine Airlines, to Starlux Airlines, to Xiamen Air.

By the way, I couldn’t help but laugh at the lounge signage, with the logos of other airlines. Not only has American not flown to Osaka for a (very) long time, but it has also been quite some time since that was American’s logo.

Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge signage Kansai-Osaka Airport

Japan Airlines Lounge Kansai-Osaka seating & layout

The Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge would be a good size if it were just used by Japan Airlines and oneworld partners, but it’s a lot less generously sized when you consider how many premium passengers have access to the space.

The lounge consists of four main areas. When you enter the lounge, there’s the biggest room of all, which features mostly communal seating, and is quite nice design-wise.

Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge seating Kansai-Osaka Airport

I did appreciate how the lounge had great apron views, including of the two gates right by the lounge.

Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge view Kansai-Osaka Airport

Then when you’re facing the windows and looking right, there’s a small room to the side, with a bunch of chairs arranged in rows, facing one another.

Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge seating Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge seating Kansai-Osaka Airport

Then when you face the windows and look left, there’s a huge smoking room. This seems like way too big of a space for the smoking room, given that the rest of the lounge was largely at capacity, while the smoking room always had one or two people in it at most.

Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge smoking room Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge smoking room Kansai-Osaka Airport

Then the second biggest area of the lounge was to the very left and back a little when facing the windows, and it was a room with tightly packed chairs that didn’t have any natural light.

Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge seating Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge seating Kansai-Osaka Airport

The lounge also had a small business center, with a few cubicles, a couple of phone booths, and a printer.

Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge workstations Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge phone booths Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge printer Kansai-Osaka Airport

There were also a couple of massage chairs, which I kind of love in theory, but without cleaning, I’ll pass.

Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge massage chair Kansai-Osaka Airport

Lastly, there were some luggage storage lockers.

Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge lockers Kansai-Osaka Airport

The lounge was just consistently very busy throughout our visit. The other thing I should mention is that while the design maybe doesn’t look so bad in pictures, it felt really tired in person, and everything just needed a little TLC. For example, I sat in one of the rolling chairs at the workstations, and the seat felt so worn, and it would loudly squeak if I moved at all.

After some time, we ended up just choosing to sit in the terminal, because to me it’s much more pleasant to be in an empty gate area than a full lounge.

Terminal Kansai-Osaka Airport

Japan Airlines Lounge Kansai-Osaka food & drinks

The Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge has a reasonably good selection of food and drinks, all from a self-serve buffet. The buffet consists of one counter, plus an island. One part of the buffet has drinks, which includes a coffee machine, a selection of tea, a soda fountain, a beer machine, several types of liquor, and one type of white wine, red wine, sparkling wine, and sake.

Japan Airlines Lounge buffet Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Lounge coffee machine Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Lounge tea Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Lounge drinks Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Lounge drinks Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Lounge drinks Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Lounge drinks Kansai-Osaka Airport

There’s also a fridge with several kinds of juice, milk, and water. I didn’t love how the only way to get water was out of a pitcher in the fridge. I wanted to hydrate, but I felt like every time I poured myself a glass of water, my hands were sticky after, since a lot of people touch these surfaces.

Japan Airlines Lounge drinks Kansai-Osaka Airport

The food selection was average — it was better than what you’d find in most US lounges, but not as good as most international airline-run lounges. It consisted of several types of bread, finger sandwiches, soup, salad, a few types of vegetables, fried potatoes, pork sausage, fried noodles, and rice with some accompaniments.

Japan Airlines Lounge food Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Lounge food Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Lounge food Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Lounge food Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Lounge food Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Lounge food Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Lounge food Kansai-Osaka Airport

Japan Airlines Lounge Kansai-Osaka bathrooms

The Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge has bathrooms just inside the entrance. They’re very basic. The men’s room had two stalls, two urinals, and one sink.

Japan Airlines Lounge bathrooms Kansai-Osaka Airport
Japan Airlines Lounge bathrooms Kansai-Osaka Airport

Unfortunately the lounge doesn’t have any showers.

Bottom line

The Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge Kansai-Osaka International Airport is very basic. I’d say the lounge would be pretty decent, except for the fact that it’s used as a contract lounge by virtually all airlines departing from this part of the terminal, and therefore the lounge gets crowded. The food and drink selection is fine, while the lounge lacks amenities, and could definitely use a refresh.

Personally I wouldn’t spend more time here than I had to, and we preferred spending most of our time just sitting in the terminal.

What do you make of the Japan Airlines Sakura Lounge KIX?

Conversations (12)
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  1. Him Guest

    You are so lucky that time for security check would be more than 90mins after 10am in these day

  2. RovinMoses Guest

    But, how great are the auto fill beer machines?! Worth a visit Just to watch.

  3. Mick Guest

    I must have visited the JAL lounge in another terminal in august because the only food they had was packaged crackers!!! We were flying domestically to Tokyo and onwards to Sydney. No alcoholic beverages either.

  4. Andrew Diamond

    This is a controversial take, but I don't think a single Japanese lounge is worth anyone's time. They are chalked full for every visit I've made in the last year+, the most exciting thing in the *A lounges is curry with pickles, even the first OW lounges are teeming with status attendees so it's low-grade sushi to sate the numbers who show up.

    I'm a fan of Japan as a tourist destination and definitely appreciate...

    This is a controversial take, but I don't think a single Japanese lounge is worth anyone's time. They are chalked full for every visit I've made in the last year+, the most exciting thing in the *A lounges is curry with pickles, even the first OW lounges are teeming with status attendees so it's low-grade sushi to sate the numbers who show up.

    I'm a fan of Japan as a tourist destination and definitely appreciate their in-flight experiences in premium cabins. Just... the lounges are not it. Doesn't matter if the airport calls itself "5-star" (looking at you, HND), and KIX is not even that.

    1. Andrew Diamond

      (Also, I haven't been to every remote outpost, but my "ex-Japan" perspective is based on HNL and the Sakura Lounge at SFO. The latter was so bad that I didn't even notice it closed in June 2023, because it wasn't worth getting on the escalator for...)

  5. Bgriff Guest

    "Better than what you'd find in most US lounges" ... that assessment might need to be updated? Because I'd say Delta Sky Clubs, Centurion Lounges, Polaris Lounges, Flagship Lounges, and arguably even United Clubs have a better food lineup than that.

  6. Nick Guest

    "Drinking water was provided out of a reusable container, which I appreciated as part of a sustainability initiative."

  7. Jerry Diamond

    That's sparkling wine, not champagne. What are you, American Airlines?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jerry -- Whoops, my mistake! Fixed...

  8. Kmanie Guest

    I was there in 2019 and it was crowded, loud and messy. The public seating area outside the lounge was more relaxing.

  9. SMR Guest

    The signs for American Airlines are meant to welcome their passengers who are One world as I am sure there are many AA elites that use the lounge. It has nothing to do with whether they serve the airport.

  10. A_Japanese Gold

    Thanks for helpful review. This lounge was last renovated in 2015 but I guess some items like the chair you mentioned could be used from 90s, when the lounge was opened.
    Sakura lounge in Haneda is equipped with much better food and facilities but also quite crowded - at least at late night peak time. I try to use shower there but it did not clear before boarding time in 2 hours, with 90ish...

    Thanks for helpful review. This lounge was last renovated in 2015 but I guess some items like the chair you mentioned could be used from 90s, when the lounge was opened.
    Sakura lounge in Haneda is equipped with much better food and facilities but also quite crowded - at least at late night peak time. I try to use shower there but it did not clear before boarding time in 2 hours, with 90ish in queue.
    Now JAL sells access to Sakura lounge for all JAL passengers, so it would make the situation even worse.
    And huge smoking lounge within the lounge is clearly out of touch for ordinary passenger in 2023. They should remove it as they did in Bangkok.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

RovinMoses Guest

But, how great are the auto fill beer machines?! Worth a visit Just to watch.

1
Andrew Diamond

This is a controversial take, but I don't think a single Japanese lounge is worth anyone's time. They are chalked full for every visit I've made in the last year+, the most exciting thing in the *A lounges is curry with pickles, even the first OW lounges are teeming with status attendees so it's low-grade sushi to sate the numbers who show up. I'm a fan of Japan as a tourist destination and definitely appreciate their in-flight experiences in premium cabins. Just... the lounges are not it. Doesn't matter if the airport calls itself "5-star" (looking at you, HND), and KIX is not even that.

1
Bgriff Guest

"Better than what you'd find in most US lounges" ... that assessment might need to be updated? Because I'd say Delta Sky Clubs, Centurion Lounges, Polaris Lounges, Flagship Lounges, and arguably even United Clubs have a better food lineup than that.

1
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