Mr. Sato visit the beautiful skies of a Tokyo rooftop most travelers have never heard of.

Part of what makes Tokyo such a cool city in that the city is so big that in addition to major tourist attractions and off-the-beaten-path tourist attractions, it’s also got these hidden gems, these little pockets of coolness that are so low on the sightseeing radar that hardly anyone talks about them, but are still out there, waiting for you to find them. Sometimes those discoveries are bittersweet, though, because you find one just as it’s about to disappear.

That’s what’s happened with one of our ace reporter Mr. Sato’s new favorite spots in Tokyo, and not only is he determined to appreciate the place while he still can, he wants all of you to know about it too, so you can see it for yourselves before it’s gone. And that place is…

…the TOC Building.

Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of the TOC Building, even under its full name, the Tokyo Oroshiuri Center (“Tokyo Wholesale Center”) Building. Constructed in 1970, the TOC Building is a mixed office space/shopping center/restaurant building.

▼ It’s located about a 10-minute walk south from Gotanda Station on the Yamanote Line, which is one of those stations that hardly anyone gets off at except to transfer to one of the other rail lines that go from there either deeper into the Tokyo city center or farther out into the suburbs.

In the 50 years since it opened, the TOC Building’s luster has faded. Nowadays, it’s pretty much only local bargain hunters who ever go to the shops there. A lot of the stores and restaurants have closed down, and those that are still there are focused more on value than flash.

And yet, despite its low-key status, there’s something great at the top of the TOC Building. Hop into one of the elevators, punch the confusingly named “P1” button…

…and it’ll take you up to the roof…

…which has some startlingly beautiful views of the city and sky!

Like we said, Gotanda and the TOC Building aren’t considered fashionable places, and that’s to your benefit if you’re looking for a place to look out and enjoy the view, not the scene. In a trendier neighborhood or more buzzworthy building, the roof might be packed with people, jostling for the best position to snap selfies for their myriad social media accounts. But at the TOC Building rooftop, you can admire the view in peace and quiet.

▼ Mr. Sato, soaking up the old-school, low-crowd vibes of the TOC rooftop

But if Mr. Sato is so taken with this quiet atmosphere, why is he telling other people about it? Because even if he were to keep the TOC rooftop a secret all to himself, it’s not going to be around all that much longer. The owners of the TOC have announced that they’ll be tearing it down in order to build a brand-new structure. The demolition work was supposed to start this past spring but has been delayed until a yet-to-be-specified date. The owners say the delay will be from six to 12 months, though, so the TOC Building doesn’t have much time left.

▼ There are still a few shops and restaurants open inside the building, and the rooftop garden is still being nicely maintained.

That’s why Mr. Sato wants to tell everyone about this place. Sure, saying “I went to the TOC Building” won’t have all your classmates or coworkers gasping in envy like they would if you’d gone to the latest Shibuya or Harajuku hotspot. That doesn’t make the sky and clouds above any less beautiful, though, and the TOC rooftop is the sort of place Mr. Sato thinks everyone should visit at least once while they still have the chance.

Location information
TOC Building / TOCビル
Address: Tokyo-to, Shinagawa-ku, Nishi Gotanda 7-22-17

Photos ©SoraNews24
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he used to go through Gotanda Station every day on his way to school.