The Nagasaki-ya was a sort of hostel or inn in Edo maintained specifically for the purpose of housing envoys from the Dutch East India Company (VOC). It was the only tôjin yado (an inn catering specifically to foreigners) in Edo. The manager of the Nagasaki-ya was named Nagasakiya Gen'emon, a name passed down in a hereditary fashion from one generation to the next.
From 1609 until 1790, the Dutch visited Edo roughly annually; after that, they visited in 1794 and 1798, and only on rare occasions after the VOC went bankrupt in 1799. While in Edo, they generally stayed for about three weeks.
Originally, the Dutch generally left Nagasaki in December (on the Western calendar), and arrived in Edo in February. However, as fires were more frequent in the winter, when nearly everyone made use of open braziers or other sources of flame to keep warm, the Dutch visit was pushed back to March, and then to April, in an effort to avoid having them present in the city when a great fire struck. Such fires destroyed the Nagasaki-ya in 1657, 1658, and 1659, as well as a number of times both earlier and later; the Dutch arrival in April coincided more closely with the blooming of the cherry blossoms, which then came to be associated with the Dutch visitors in poetry and images.