After the post yesterday I did some research to find out about the shrine. I love when I turn up some great information from some obscure webpage hardly anyone has looked at. I'm eternally grateful to whomever helped me.
As it turns out, Kawashima-jinja (河嶋神社) has a fairly long history. Around 1443 the local villagers enshrined the patron gods. I'm not sure when the first shrine was actually built but it was established at some location farther up the river. In 1832 the shrine was deconstructed and moved to its present location at the lower part of the river. The building that is there today is the remaining main shrine.
The older shrines and temples are always my favorite. When something has managed to survive hundreds of years it's truly impressive. I like the tangible relics of the past. It's sometimes a little disappointing to come across rebuilt Japanese structures such as castles, temples, and shrines. Even if they retain beautiful architecture they don't hold the exact same history as a building that stood all by its own. However, it's hard for many structures to last long due to wars and other natural phenomenon so sometimes there isn't much one can do.
It seems that the area I went to last Wednesday is rich in traditional Japanese culture. It was unexpected but a great find all on its own. I would love to learn more so I'll probably contact the owner of the webpage where I retrieved this information from. I'll go back to the shrine on a nice day to photograph the rest of the wood carving. There were some mermaids that I missed in the shadows of the room. I didn't know mermaids could be found at a shrine.
By the way could you feel my history teacher claws coming out? Sure you did.