The fragile beauty of cherry blossoms has captivated audiences for centuries. With a short but breathtaking bloom season, the flowers become a metaphor for the fleeting nature of life.

In Japan, residents and tourists spend the spring perched under the sakura blossoms enjoying the transient beauty. Photographers come to capture that beauty, that perfect clash of pink and blue, of contrasting warm and cool tones.

The cherry blossoms are special on their own. But find a view of them framing one of the nation’s most important historic monuments and you’ll hit the jackpot. In this photo, the sakura create a canopy over Osaka Castle – a structure that played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century.

And though modern warfare has long since passed it by, the castle remains as stalwart as ever. In fact, it now seems to have a new role, for its fortitude provides a complement to the flowers’ fragility. Osaka Castle must have remained, then, so that it could stand as the sentinel of the sakura.

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