In this review we will check out the ANA Business Lounge in Terminal 1 of Tokyo Narita Airport.
Heading to the airport
After a great time in Tokyo on my short stopover it was time to head back to Narita Airport for my flight back home. Instead of taking the more expensive Keisei Skyliner from Nippori station to Narita Airport, this time I opted to take a slower local train as I had some time to spare.
Armed with a bottle of “Craft Boss Coffee”, which despite being iced coffee strangely had a big warning sign noticing “hot” on the bottle, I got in the fairly empty suburban train and trundled down the Keisei Mainline.
All went well until I somehow dozed off halfway through the ride, something which happens all too often to Japanese businessmen on their way home after a long day of work at the office. I woke up when the train suddenly entered a station and literally everyone seemed to get off the train, including the locals carrying large suitcases who clearly seemed to be heading to the airport.
Although my train was supposed to go directly to Narita Airport, I didn’t trust it being seated in a completely empty train. Still half asleep, I decided to get out the train as fast as possible as well and follow the mob into the train on the opposite side of the platform, with the doors closing seconds after I entered.
Fortunately, it turned out that this train was heading to Narita Airport too after I hastily inquired with some other passengers. A good 10 to 15 minutes later the train finally pulled into the Narita Airport train station underneath Terminal 1.
Narita Terminal 1
Narita’s vast Terminal 1 is used primarily by All Nippon Airways (ANA) and most of its Star Alliance partners, who together use the South Wing of the terminal. The North Wing of Terminal 1 is primarily used by SkyTeam airlines.
As I had already checked-in online I could head straight to security control. Being a major ANA hub, it is not surprising that facilities for Star Alliance frequent flyers are well arranged here. There is a Gold Track priority lane for security right under the lovely old-school flap display departures board.
Lines at security and passport control were nearly absent and I breezed through in minutes.
Which ANA Lounge to choose?
There are two ANA business lounges in the large international departure concourse of Tokyo Narita Airport. There is one in No. 4 Satellite near Gate 46 which I would visit on this occasion, and another one at the complete other side of Terminal 1 in No 5. Satellite near Gate 52.
Both are fairly identical and offer the exact same facilities, so for most travellers I would simply suggest to visit the lounge which is nearest to your departure gate.
That said, the ANA Business Lounge in Sattelite 4 is open a bit longer (until 9.30pm) than the ANA Business Lounge in Satellite 5, which closes at 8pm. On the other hand, the ANA Lounge in Satellite 5 has tarmac views while the lounge in Satellite 4 doesn’t.
Don’t forget that there is a third option: the United Club to which passengers which Star Alliance gold status have access as well. After my visit to the ANA Lounge, I would head over to the American competitors for a full United Club review, so make sure to check that chapter out as well as to my great surprise the United lounge can certainly compete with ANA in some aspects.
ANA Lounge entrance requirements
The usual lounge entry requirements apply to the ANA Business Lounge. You need a same-day business class ticket on ANA or any other Star Alliance airline out of Narita, or need to have a status equivalent to Star Alliance gold. Third party lounge passes such as Priority Pass are not accepted.
If you do not hold frequent flyer status, it is possible to gain paid access into the ANA lounge although some conditions do apply. You need to travel on an ANA flight (codeshares are excluded) and be booked in one of these booking classes: Y, B, M, U, H, Q, V, W or S. Costs are 4,000 Japanese Yen (34 EUR) if booked in advance online or 6,000 JPY (51 EUR) on the spot. Check the ANA website for full details on paid access.
As I was travelling on Turkish Airlines to Istanbul and hold Star Alliance gold status, I was quickly welcomed in by the friendly lounge attendants. At the reception there is huge model plane of an ANA Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Star Wars livery.
The ANA Business Lounge has a layout in the shape of a triangle and is quite vast, which isn’t surprising given the amount of ANA and other Star Alliance flights departing from this terminal.
The lounge is certainly not the prettiest and felt rather sterile. For the Japanese, a business lounge really is primarily a business space. It really had a distinct office feel to it, which was not helped by the fact that this particular lounge does not have any windows and thus felt rather enclosed and even a bit depressive.
There are plenty of seating options throughout the lounge. Most seats are in bays of four, although there are also plenty of seats at long work tables and dining tables. Despite there being some partition barriers between the seating bays, there isn’t much privacy in this vast, open lounge.
I felt that more could have been done with the available space to create a more intimate, warm lounge with more private seating areas and more decorations. I mean, who likes to stare at white walls? Nobody does!
On the plus side, there are power sockets and USB charging ports at almost every seat in the lounge.
Putting the business into the lounge
The ANA Business lounge definitely emphasises the “business” part of the term of “business lounge”. If you are seeking a space to get some work done before your flight, this lounge will definitely do as a part of the lounge is designated more as a business centre.
There are some private work stations, as well as computers and a printer which you can use. There are also some phone booths if you want to take a call in private. Even though this might seem tailored to businessmen having confidential talks, do note that is a feature which is highly connected to Japanese culture as talking on your phone in enclosed public places is considered to be very rude in Japan.
WiFi internet was extremely fast and reliable throughout my stay in the lounge.
One of the highlights of the ANA Business Lounge at Narita Airport is the food. Although the buffet is relatively small, the food is nicely presented and the quality is quite good.
There are a couple of hot noodle dishes, as well as some western foods and a fairly large selection of cookies and sweets.
However, there is also a noodle bar where you can order some freshly cooked dishes – all complimentary. You give you order to the chef at the counter and you will receive a small buzzer. When your food is ready, the device will beep and you can come back to collect your dish.
I tried the ramen with pork broth and the signature ANA original chicken curry. Both dishes were certainly tasty!
In the buffet area, you can find a hot water dispenser to make tea as well as a couple of coffee machines. Interestingly, one of them also offered the option of iced coffee.
There are also soda machines, some canisters of juice inside a fridge and most interestingly: a draught beer machine. You can opt for a fresh pint of Kirin or Asahi beer. All you need to do is to place a frosted glass from the fridge under the machine, press a button – and the machine will do all the rest.
Those who seek something traditional will be delighted to find there is plenty of sake available. There were four varieties of sake, all in authentic porcelain dispensers. You can find them at a self-serve bar in the middle of the lounge, which design-wise is also the most beautiful part of the lounge.
Wine is available too in the ANA Business Lounge, although I found the selection rather lacklustre. There was no champagne but rather a mediocre French Crémant (Paul Louis). The two whites and two reds were perhaps even more disappointing for the hub lounge of a premium airline.
The selection of strong booze was certainly a bit better in both quality and quantity and did include some good bottles of Japanese whiskey.
The ANA business lounge does of course feature some shower rooms as well. You need to head first to a machine to get a ticket for a shower slot. Fortunately, when I first entered the lounge and wanted to take a shower there were no queues at all and I could immediately proceed to the actual shower rooms with my ticket in hand.
The shower rooms were large, clean and well-appointed with a wide range of amenities. It definitely ranks among the better shower facilities I’ve yet encountered at business lounges across the world.
I’m a bit conflicted about the ANA Business Lounge at Narita Airport. At one hand, this is an extremely solid lounge with some great features. The noodle bar serves some freshly cooked and tasty food, there is a decent buffet, and the shower rooms are excellent.
The drinks selection is however a mixed bag. I love the sake selection and beer machines and there are some quality whiskeys available, although the wine selection is subpar for a business lounge of a premium airline at one of their airport hubs.
The same counts for the lounge itself. The facility is large, there are plenty of seats available and it makes a fine spot to get some work done. At the same time, the lounge feels a bit dark and depressive as there is no natural light and not a single bit of decoration outside the bar area to bring a bit of much-needed colour and atmosphere to this vast space. It really could do with a creative refurbishment.
The lounge is great if you want a drink, good meal or shower before your flight, or need to get some work done. It is however not a lounge to linger around for long unless you are a fan of sterile Japanese office spaces.
Trip report index
This article is part of the ‘Lazing in Laos and Gallivanting a Wee Bit Around Asia‘ trip report, which consists of the following chapters:
1. Review: Aegean Airlines Business Class Bucharest to Athens (Airbus A320)
2. Review: Goldair Handling Lounge (Non-Schengen) Athens Airport
3. Review: Saudia Business Class Athens to Jeddah (Airbus A320)
4. Review: Saudia Alfursan Lounge Jeddah Airport South Terminal
5. Review: Review: Saudia Business Class Jeddah to Kuala Lumpur (Boeing 787)
6. Review: CitizenM Hotel Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang
7. Kuala Lumpur in One Day: What to See and Do in 24 Hours
8. A Batu Caves Half Day Trip From Kuala Lumpur By Public Transport
9. Review: Plaza Premium Lounge Private Resting Suite Gateway KLIA2
10. Review: Air Asia Kuala Lumpur to Vientiane (Airbus A320)
11. Review: Hotel Khamvongsa, Vientiane, Laos
12. Destination Trip Report: A Day in Vientiane, Laos
13. Guide: Domestic Bus Travel in Laos and How to Book a Ticket
14. Review: Simon Riverside Hotel, Vang Vieng, Laos
15. Trip Report: Vang Vieng – Worth a Stop on Your Laos Itinerary?
16. Review: Villa Ban Phanluang, Luang Prabang, Laos
17. Luang Prabang: The Stunning Pearl of Indochina
18. Guide: Luang Prabang Morning, Food and Night Markets
19. Kuang Si Falls: A Gorgeous Luang Prabang Day Trip
20. Review: Thai Smile Economy Class Luang Prabang to Bangkok (Airbus A320)
21. Review: Ibis Styles Bangkok Sukhumvit 4
22. Review: Air France/KLM Business Lounge Bangkok Airport
23. Review: Garuda Indonesia Business Class Bangkok to Jakarta (Boeing 737-800)
24. Review: Sapphire Plaza Premium Lounge Terminal 3 Jakarta Airport
25. Review: Garuda Business Lounge Terminal 3 Jakarta Airport
26. Review: Review: Japan Airlines Business Class Jakarta to Tokyo Narita (Boeing 787-8)
27. Review: Capsule Hotel Transit Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
28. Tokyo Stopover: What to See and Do in the Capital of Japan for a Day
29. Review: ANA Business Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport (current chapter)
30. Review: United Club Tokyo Narita Airport
31. Review: Turkish Airlines Economy Class Tokyo Narita to Istanbul (Boeing 777)
32. Review: Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles Lounge Istanbul Airport
33. Review: Turkish Airlines Economy Class Istanbul to Bucharest (Airbus A330)