There are two shrines here along the Kumano Kodo dating from the Edo era(1603-1867). To the left is Funatama Shrine enshrining a god of ships. The komainu guardian statues are very unusual: twin dragons guarding the shrine. Dragons are associated with fire in western cultures, but in Japanese culture, dragons are gods of water. The story of how ships came to be invented is interesting.

 Once upon a time, there was a waterfall called Tama-taki. A spider fell into the pond at the base of the falls and was drowning but climbed up onto a leaf floating on the     water. Just then, a breeze rippled across the water and blew the leaf to the edge of the pond and the spider climbed back on land. A god happened to notice the spider's fall into the water and the leaf which saved it. This gave the god an inspiration to make a wooden boat from the log of a camphor tree. This was the first boat to ever be made.

This shrine is far from any place where you would normally find a boat or ship of any size. The lumber for ship building came from the mountain areas, so this shrine dedicated to the god of boats is deep in a forest with only a small stream nearby.

Funatama Shrine was very famous throughout Japan at one time because a man from Shingu visited the Yoshiwara pleasure district in the capital, Edo, now modern day Tokyo. The man sang a song about Funatama Shrine that became popular with geisha girls. Then, the popularity of the song spread all over Japan.

Tamahime Inari Shrine is on the right. Two fox komainu guardians guard the shrine.