According to Martin Schumaucher in his entry about tanuki over at Gods of Japan, A tanuki figure commonly appears in front of restaurants in Japan in the same way that the lucky cat is used by shops. These ceramic figures show the tanuki holding a sake bottle in one hand and an IOU promising to pay for it later in the other. Tradition says that the IOU is never redeemed.
For the last several hundred years most of these have been made in Shingaraki and on these the sake bottle often has the emblem of the Nagoya clan who ruled that area in the feudal era.
It's the character for eight referring to the eight districts they ruled and eight in Japanese is hachi!
And for my readers who've made it this far in the entry without being IY fans (Hi, Christina) Hachi is also the nickname of Hachiemon, Miroku's tanuki friend.