It is thought that rice cultivation was introduced to Japan from mainland China and the Korean peninsula in prehistoric Japan, near the end of the Jomon period (approx.14,000 BCE-1,000 BCE), which gave rise to small villages. However, it began in earnest in the Yayoi period. This revolution led to food security, which created less need for hunting and gathering. Rice paddies became commonplace, and small villages eventually developed into communities over larger settlement areas.
With the advent of rice cultivation, dwellings were built next to rice fields. Dwellings at this time were small, semi-underground homes called tateana, where a hole was dug into the ground and a frame was made with pillars, which were covered by a roof. There are traces from this time of stoves and fireplaces, and as time passed, the dwellings became larger. Rice production in the Yayoi period also led to differences in wealth and power, and gave rise to an upper class. People of this emerging upper class may have lived in elevated homes, demonstrative of their stature.
Harvest rice was kept in storehouses elevated on stilts. These were effective in keeping out both moisture and pests such as mice. Along with rice cultivation, metalworking techniques also developed. Bronze and iron objects such as mirrors and vessels were made, and used during festivals.
*Please note that there are various theories about the Jomon and Yayoi periods.