By JapanTravel Guest
The arterial Route 56 winds south of Matsuyama towards Ozu, passing through the suburb of Masaki. Here, set back slightly from the road is Ehime’s biggest shopping mall, Emifull Masaki. Whether you’re traveling to or from Matsuyama by car, Emifull makes a good pit stop for some shopping, eating and a visit to the toilet.
The mall has plentiful parking in the forecourt and a multistory car park—so plentiful in fact, you may be hard pressed to find your car when it’s time to retrieve it. Getting lost in Emifull is the chief drawback of the place. It’s enormous, and the internal layout is confusing. There are maps dotted about and an information counter that may be of some help. Other drawbacks are noisy background music, frequent announcements, and screaming kids. Emifull can get quite crowded on weekends.
Otherwise, it’s a commercial paradise. Built recently, the shop-lined hallways of the part called Emi Mall are all sparkling marble and potted shrubs. Considerable ingenuity has been applied to turn the stairwells found at regular intervals into ‘architectural space’. I think I may even have said “Wow!” when I saw the oval Orange Court with its suspended baubles.
Emifull has every kind of shop. Popular Japanese brands like Uniqlo and Muji rub shoulders with international brands including the Body Shop and Gap. Then there are countless independent fashion boutiques. It’s worth noting however, that large sizes of anything are nearly impossible to find, so if you’re interested in clothes, you’re advised to be on the small side. Import shops offer packaged food and drink from all over the world. There are even shops mounted on little carts in the hallways, and these are a good place to buy small souvenirs such as accessories, stamps and stickers. Out of sight around the back of the mall, is an area called Emi Park with vast home electronics and DIY stores. Another area, Emi Amuse has a games arcade and cinema.
There are food courts inside the main mall with some tasty offerings at low prices. Tempting smells waft out into the shopping area. There’s also a village of restaurants outside the mall, Emi Gourmet, so you’re bound to find something you like.
Emi Mall has possibly the best toilets in Matsuyama, and if you’re traveling with small children, this can be important. If you have a high tolerance for shopping, you could easily spend a happy afternoon or longer at Emifull, soaking up the Japanese version of mass commerce.
I was born in Bristol, England, and I came to Japan in 1991 … which means I’ve lived half my life in this island nation on the other side of the world. The theme of my career in Japan has been communication. I started as an English teacher, and moved into translation as I learned Japanese....