After a great weekend with my nephew and seeing some of the sights in southern Okinawa including Naha, the capital, Hacksaw Ridge and Shuri Castle, and the Underground Japanese Naval Headquarters and Museum, I headed back to Tokyo to catch my flight home.

I was flying on a purchased economy class ticket to Tokyo Haneda on Japan Airlines.  As with the flight from Tokyo to Naha, Oneworld Emerald status due to being Executive Platinum with American Airlines assured access to the Japan Airlines Sakura or Diamond Premier Lounge before the flight.  Diamond Premier Lounges are first-class lounges for Japan Airlines domestic flights and are slightly nicer than domestic Sakura Lounges.  However, given the experience with the Diamond Premier Lounge at Haneda, I wasn’t expecting much.

Other posts from an outstanding trip to Japan:

United Airlines Polaris Lounge, Chicago, Il – Lounge Review
Flight Review – ANA First Class 777-300ER, Chicago, IL to Tokyo, Japan (HND)
Tokyo Hotel Review – The b Akasaka-Mitsuke Hotel
The Ritz Carlton Tokyo – Hotel Review
My First Sakura Season -Photo Review
Shinjuku Walking Tour
Mt. Fuji Tour Review
Japan Airlines Diamond Premier Lounge Tokyo, Japan (HND)
Flight Review – Japan Airlines 777-300 Economy Class, Tokyo, Japan (HND) to Naha (Okinawa), Japan (OKA)
Hacksaw Ridge And Shuri Castle WWII Battle Sites – Okinawa, Japan
Japanese World War II Underground Naval Headquarters And Museum
Flight Review – Japan Airlines 767-300 Economy Class, Naha to Tokyo, Japan (HND)Hotel Review – Royal Park Hotel, Tokyo Haneda (HND)
Lounge Review – ANA First Class Lounge Tokyo, Japan (HND)
Flight Review – ANA First Class 777-300 Tokyo, Japan (HND) to Chicago, IL (ORD)

Naha Diamond Premier Lounge Location, Hours, and Access

This lounge is located on the departures level to the left of the fast-track security area.  The agent provided directions at check in but failed to mention the lounge entrance through the dedicated security checkpoint for Japan Airlines first-class customers.  Here’s a diagram showing the lounge’s location in the domestic terminal of Naha International Airports (OKA).

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The lounge is open daily from 06:00 to 20:35 or last departure.

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The entrance to the Diamond Premier Lounge and the Sakura Lounge

I mentioned some of the access rules already but will recap the whole list.

  • Passengers departing in first class or connecting to a same day JAL flight with a first-class reservation
  • Passengers connecting by 06:00 the next day to or from an international JAL flight with a first-class reservation
  • Passengers who have JMB Diamond or JGC Premier status
  • Passengers who have Oneworld Emerald status
  •  Each eligible passenger may bring one guest.  Children under three do not count as a guest

The access criteria state that a departing passenger need only be in first class while a connecting passenger must have a first-class reservation.  It appears that someone who upgrades to first class on an international flight would be denied access because the reservation would not be in first.

Lounge Layout

After entering from the concourse airside, proceed past the smoking room down a long hall to the check-in desk.  The Diamond Premiere Lounge is on the left and the Sakura Lounge is on the right.2019-07-25 The lounge is small.  It consists of two primary seating areas with comfortable chairs and sofas plus a food service area.  Both seating areas overlook the runways.20190725_153156

The seating area next to the food and beverages has a long table for working or eating  and an area with chairs offering high walls for privacy.20190725_154154

The lounge was crowded.  I felt self conscious taking a photo directly in someone’s face so here is a Japan Airlines picture of the main seating area with privacy seats and the  work bench by the window.  2019-07-27 (2)

Food and Beverages

Food and beverages are available in a galley arrangement on the right just after entering the lounge.

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The buffet is remarkably empty even for a morning flight.

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Like the Diamond Premier Lounge at Haneda, food and beverages are underwhelming  for a lounge designated for first class.  Okinawan sweets, cakes and bread from Jimmy’s Bakery, a local favorite,and onigiri, green papaya soup, and seaweed soup are served all day.  Special curry filled breads are available from 11:30 to closing.

Beverages are a range of soft drinks, teas and coffee and a limited selection of quality beer, wine and spirits.  While the alcohol choices are few, at least there is no charge for the good stuff.

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Draft beer with a perfect head thanks to automatic pouring machines.

Although I like seaweed soup and am getting the hang of onigiri (rice balls), my western appetite was unfulfilled.  At best one can make a light snack with this menu. A far cry from the fun and satisfying experience we had at a Japanese restaurant the night before.  At that restaurant customers order an assortment of meats and side dishes at a fixed price.

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My nephew, Evan, learned a lot about Japanese food during his time on Okinawa with the Marines.
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Customers cook on a charcoal grill and reorder items on their menu as much as they want.

Other Services and Facilities

In addition to seating and refreshments, the lounge has a luggage room, phone booth, WiFi, restrooms, a smoking room, flight monitors (no boarding announcements) and a copier and fax that is shared with the Sakura Lounge. There are plenty of electrical outlets.

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Lockers that accommodate carry-on bags.

The reception staff also assists with questions about Japan Airlines flights.  That service can be invaluable at times.

Overall Impression

Japan Airlines Diamond Premier (and Sakura) Lounges are very basic.  For my tastes, ordinary American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Delta SkyClubs have much better food.  The Diamond Premier Lounge at Naha International is a good spot to charge devices and take a load off before a flight.  Those not accustomed to a Japanese diet may find the fare wanting.  A lounge for first-class passengers should offer a more satisfying menu even if the lounge only serves domestic flights.

Have you tried a Diamond Premier Lounge?  How would a Japanese person rate the food in this lounge?

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