Savills Global Placement

Location: Tokyo, Japan
Dates: April 2018 to July 2018

Name: Emily Oliver
Graduate Scheme: Graduate Rotation


Three months ago I arrived in Tokyo expecting to live in a typical Asian city which is busy, over populated and polluted.  However, I could not have been more wrong.  Although the city is highly populated (I have queued up to two and a half hours for a restaurant and up to 15 minutes just to get into the office!), Tokyo is very orderly, clean and has good air quality.   

Savills Japan is a fairly small office with around 50 people so whilst I am primarily in the Institutional Investment Advisory team supporting them with the due diligence for their pitches and instructions, there have also been opportunities to get involved in work for other teams including tenant rep and research. 

Being a residential graduate I have learned a lot about the commercial sector and the Japanese real estate market very quickly.  The market is interesting as we are currently reaching the top of a property cycle with assets being relatively expensive to buy resulting in investor caution.  However, there are still opportunities as whilst assets are expensive, borrowing costs are very low so taking advantage of cheap debt through leveraging makes deals possible.   

Many investors are from the wider Asia Pacific area and I have been fortunate to attend a number of meetings with REITS and family offices.  The meetings have been fascinating, listening to investor's requirements and their views on the market, as well as learning about the business etiquette that must be adhered to in Japan. 

Everyone has been incredibly welcoming.  Japan has a big lunching culture and I have been invited to lunches with different teams in the office which have given me an opportunity to gain invaluable insights into the markets in which different teams work and Japanese culture. 

Outside of the office I have made weekend trips to nearby towns known for their contemporary art, temples and hiking, I even made it up Mt Fuji! Before my rotation I was lucky to be able to take a holiday to experience some of Japan's diverse culture, including snorkelling on tropical islands to visiting onsen towns, temples and hiking in the countryside - there is certainly no shortage of things to do in Japan.

I have absolutely loved my time in Japan and I am excited about what the remaining month has in store as Japan is a fascinating country and I am learning more and more about it every day.