Kumano Shrine was built as one of the many shrines across Japan that are subsidiaries of Wayakama Prefecture’s Kumano Sanzan Shrine. It is thought that Kusugawa’s Kumano Shrine was built as a branch shrine of Tanegashima’s Kumano Shrine, but the historical details remain unknown.
Long ago, villagers found very mysterious stones on the shoreline of Kusugawa. When they brought those stones back to the village, strange things began to happen. In an oft-encountered phenomenon, if a stone was left at the entrance to a home, it was only a matter of time before the same stone was found sitting upon the home’s kandoko (a small Shinto altar often found in old Japanese houses). When the villagers asked a local wise person about it, they affirmed that these stones were sent to Yakushima from Tanegashima’s Kumano shrine in order to protect Kusugawa’s people and attract prosperity to them.
Thus, in order to deify the stones, the villagers built a wooden shrine on a small hill that looks out across the sea toward Tanegashima’s Kumano Shrine. However, the shrine was later rebuilt, and now instead faces Kusugawa’s beach and the seas beyond.