Tatsuo Morizawa, 44, a friendly man with a boisterous laugh, owns a popular izakaya bar called Hachifukujin (Eight Lucky Gods) that is located in the vibrant, working-class area south of downtown Osaka called Nishinari.

Inside, a long rectangular counter sits 25 comfortably. Mismatched stools and chairs and shelves full of manga and knickknacks give off a cozy, at-home feeling, and it's not unusual to see salt-of-the-earth regulars chatting with tourists staying at one of the backpacker hotels in the area.

Spend time around Morizawa and it becomes obvious that he loves talking about Nishinari: its deep-rooted history, resilient community and, in particular, all of its wonderful food.