I'd been looking for this for months. When I lived in Japan, I'd occasionally find this airing in the mornings or early afternoons on Cartoon Network. It's a puppet/marionette show called Prinprin Monogatari (or Purinpurin Monogatari). It originally aired on NHK in the early 1980s and has a gentle Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood feel. All I know about it beyond that is the characters would sometimes ride around in a Jeep.