Baika, population 5,165, is a charming neighborhood with a small-town feel near Osaka’s Chidoribashi Station. Here, restaurants and cafes are housed in antiquated buildings, and a close-knit DIY artist community has taken up residence in old warehouses and refurbished shops on lowland areas by the waterfront.

Due to its proximity to major tourist attractions like Universal Studios Japan, Baika has a handful of inexpensive guest houses and accommodations, but the neighborhood itself has remained largely undiscovered by non-Japanese visitors. It feels like it’s been untouched by time, and its slower pace and rich food culture makes it a welcome getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city center.

I start my day at Minoya, a small take-out food stall near the Konohana Sumiyoshi Shotengai shopping arcade. I can’t help admiring the faded metal sign of a beckoning cow posing like a manekineko (Japanese lucky cat). Owner Eiko Asanuma has a magnetic personality, and tells me she has been serving her special chijimi (thin savory Korean pancakes; ¥300) and buta horumonyaki (fried pork offal; ¥300) in the neighborhood for over 30 years.