On my way home to Singapore from Okinawa with Cathay Pacific today, I had the chance to check out the Ryurin Lounge at the airport. One good perk of having Marco Polo Club status – even just with Silver – is that you will get access to a lounge as long as you are flying with Cathay Pacific or Cathay Dragon.
Naha International Airport is largely a domestic airport with a small international terminal. The last time I was here, the international check-in area was a tiny two-row space, but it has since been moved to a larger hall on the third floor of the terminal to accommodate the growth in international air traffic.
Despite the number of international flights coming into Okinawa, there is still only one lounge: the Ryurin Lounge which effectively serves all airlines and their premium customers.
At the time of writing, the lounge serves customers of the following airlines:
- China Airlines
- Hong Kong Airlines
- Asiana Airlines
- Cathay Pacific / Cathay Dragon
- Air China
- Korean Air
- EVA Air
- China Eastern
The lounge, facilities and location
Ryurin Lounge at Okinawa international terminal is located on the 4th floor, after immigration and security screening. To access the lounge, there is a lift right across from gate 42 that will bring you to the doorstep of the lounge. Note that there’s no stairs to the lounge, this is the only way to get into the lounge.
When you first enter the lounge, the staff will check your boarding pass and your lounge invitation, before you head into the lounge itself. Also, there’s a coat rack at the front desk area, and the receptionist will ask if you need to check your coat.
The lounge is a tiny space: a total of 37 seats are available, including two at the front door, as well 2 each at the telephone booth and workstations. The tiny size is because the lounge largely one flight at any one time, and this lounge is not available to any lounge programmes such as Priority Pass, and it’s also not available on a pay-per-use basis.
As with all places Japanese, customers are reminded not to use their mobile phones in the lounge. For those who need to chat, there are two dedicated booths for you to chat at.
There’s also two small desks for those who need to catch up with work on their own laptops or tablets.
Within the lounge there’s also a smoking room. Now, this is a very Japanese concept, as most other airports will require you to leave the lounge and head to the public smoking area if you wish to light up.
Given that Okinawa has no long-haul destinations, this lounge has no shower facilities. There are however a pair of toilets for customers to use.
Food and beverage
Given that it’s a small lounge, there’s also very limited food and beverage offerings.
For a start, there are no hot food available: there are only pre-packed snacks and cold jelly available for you to munch on. If you need something hot, they do have cup noodles available. I thought it was pretty thoughtful to have them in the mini size, so that you can have a small bite if you are feeling peckish rather than needing something fuller.
They are better equipped in the beverage department. For non-alcoholic drinks, there are two dispensers: one for soft drinks, and another one for hot drinks.
There’s also a range of complimentary alcoholic beverages, including red and white wine, as well as Japanese spirits such as native Okinawan awamori, Japanese whiskey and plum wine or umeshu. My favourite of all has got to be the self-dispensing beer tap dishing out Orion draft beer.
There is no doubt the Ryurin Lounge is a very small lounge, probably one of the smallest I’ve seen. In the quintessentially Japanese spirit, this small space is adequately equipped as a lounge space for an international airport serving short and mid-haul destinations, with its furthest international flight being Singapore, which is about 5 hours away.
One sore lack was the absence of hot food. While the flight length doesn’t warrant one, premium travellers may appreciate the offering. In the beverage department, however, they are fully equipped, offering some of the best that Japan and Okinawa can offer.
What else is good is that the lounge is not open to pay-per-use customers, or even third-party lounge programmes such as Priority Pass and Dragon Pass, so at no time does the lounge feel overcrowded. Having said that, the international terminal has only this lounge, so if you do not have lounge access as part of your fare, it’s better that you spend time in the public area and clear immigration and security only at the last minute.
Location and operating details
Location: Okinawa Naha International Airport, after immigration and security, opposite Gate 42
Access: Only for passengers who has lounge access as part of their fare or frequent flyer entitlements, not available for Priority Pass or Dragon Pass
Hours: 0845H to 2120H (hours may vary)
Food and beverage: Yes, complimentary
Alcohol: Yes, complimentary
Business Centre: No