For the first time this holiday season, JTB Hawaii will be offering free trolley and bus tour experiences throughout Waikïkï for local Hawai‘i resident families from Saturday, Dec. 18th through Friday, Dec. 24, and Sunday, Dec. 26. The destination management company wanted to provide an opportunity for local families to spend time with their children during their school holiday break and give kama‘aina a reason to venture to Waikïkï, where it’s usually frequented by tourists.

“We know families are looking for fun holiday experiences to enjoy with their children and wanted to offer this free tour to see the festivities and decorations in Waikïkï from a different perspective,” said Hiroyuki “Keith” Kitagawa, president and CEO of JTB Hawaii. “We encourage families to set aside some time and make the most of an afternoon during the holiday break with this tour.”

 Tours will be offered on the HiBus Trolley and Electric Bus, with onboarding held at the Ala Moana Center Bus Depot located near the Pi‘ikoi Street side of the mall on the ground level across from JTB Hawaii’s Oli Oli Station. Riders will be accepted on a first come, first-served basis, with tours starting every 20 to 30 minutes. Families will get to enjoy the festive sights and sounds as tours loop through Waikïkï before returning back to Ala Moana Center. Each tour will last approximately 30 minutes.

This is the first time JTB Hawaii, with the HiBus Trolley and Electric Bus operated by Travel Plaza Transportation, is offering free tours during the holidays. Specific details regarding the holiday tours are as follows:

Holiday Tours

When: Saturday, Dec. 18-Friday, Dec. 24 and Sunday, Dec. 26, from 1-5 p.m.

Where: Meet at the Ala Moana Center Bus Depot

Requirements: This offer is for Hawai‘i residents only. Children need to be accompanied by an adult who must present a COVID-19 vaccine card to board.

Cost: Free, first come first serve basis. 

Note: JTB Hawaii’s Electric Bus was the first of its kind in Hawai‘i when introduced in March 2019. The bus can reach a top speed of 65 miles per hour, if needed, and travel for 250 miles on a single charge. The comfortable, air-conditioned bus operates on battery-powered energy of 440 kilowatt hours (kWh), with a projected efficiency of 1.75 kWh per mile with a full passenger load. 

JTB Hawaii opened its Honolulu offices in 1964 to serve travelers from Japan. Today, JTB Hawaii is a full-fledged destination management company with offices on O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i Island. For more information about JTB Hawaii, visit online at jtb-hawaii.com. 


Hawai‘i high school students can now apply for Hawaii Medical Service Association’s Kaimana Awards & Scholarship Program, which honors Hawai‘i high school seniors and their schools for excellence in academics, athletics, community service, health activities, and sportsmanship. HMSA has been celebrating Hawai‘i’s talented youth for 17 years, helping local talent pursue their dreams of succeeding in higher education. This past year and a half has been especially hard on Hawai‘i’s student athletes as COVID-19 restrictions have caused a major halt and disruption on sporting events. Therefore, for a second year in a row, HMSA has relaxed its criteria for participation in athletics and involvement in community service during their high school years, making it just an encouragement within the application and not a requirement. Applications are available online, open to 2022 graduating high school seniors, and due on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022.

“We continue to support our local students as they pursue goals in higher education,” said Kathryn S. Matayoshi, senior vice president and chief community engagement officer at HMSA. “Our Kaimana Awards & Scholarship Program helps to recognize the future leaders of our state and helps them celebrate their achievements in education.” 

HMSA will choose up to a maximum of 15 students, awarding a $5,000 scholarship each. To be eligible, high school senior applicants must graduate from a Hawai‘i high school with a 2.75 or higher GPA, write a personal statement and essay about community and well-being, and submit an official transcript and two letters of recommendation from a school faculty member, mentor, or coach.

Recipients can use their scholarship awards to pay for college tuition, books, computers, and room and board. Scholarship use is subject to National Collegiate Athletic Association rules and regulations for those who are participating in collegiate sports.

Here’s how to submit your Kaimana Scholarship application (available online only):

  1. Go to the online application at https://app.smarterselect.com/programs/74498-Hawaii-Medical-Service-AssociationCreate an account.
  2. Complete the application.
  3. Request letters of recommendation and your official transcript through the online application service.
  4. Upload supporting documents including your personal statement and essay.

When submitting your documents, keep the following in mind:

  • Be sure that the supporting documents, photos, emails, or other files you submit are less than 10MB each. HMSA’s system will reject anything larger.
  • Don’t include sensitive information like your Social Security number. If sensitive information does appear on any documents, please black it out.
  • Incomplete applications will not be considered.

If you have any questions, email kaimana@hmsa.com or contact Marisa Takemoto at (808) 948-5072. HMSA encourages all those looking to expand their higher education by applying to the Kaimana Scholarship program and would like to congratulate the 2021 cohort recipients: Alexander Bell (Kealakehe High School); Alakai Gonsalves (Kapa‘a High School); Kenna Higa (Kamehameha Schools Kapalama); Min Seo Kim (Kalani High School); Katrina Kuo (Kalani High School); Sophia Lee (Kamehameha Schools Kapalama); Wailana Marvin (Island School); Rodley Nelson Jr. (Moanalua High School); Penicia Pene (Sacred Hearts Academy); Ryllah-Rae Rodrigues (Lana‘i High and Elementary School); Sumin Sung (‘Iolani School); Alianna West-Rodrigues (Hawaii Preparatory Academy); Christopher Wolfersberger (Kahuku High and Intermediate School); Cael Yasutake (Lahainaluna High School); Jing Ting Zheng (Kalani High School).

In addition to HMSA’s Kaimana Scholarship to 15 deserving local seniors, the nonprofit health insurer also recognizes Hawai‘i high schools for all-around excellence known as the Kaimana Awards for High Schools. Schools are measured in five categories and compete in their own league to earn points in: academics, athletics, community service, healthy activities and sportsmanship. All public and independent HHSAA schools are eligible to win HMSA Kaimana Awards. Winners are awarded in each of the five leagues, which are the: Big Island Interscholastic Federation; Interscholastic League of Honolulu; Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation; Maui Interscholastic League; and the O‘ahu Interscholastic Association. School points are due Friday, April 29, 2022. For more information about both the HMSA Kaimana Awards & Scholarship Program, go to hmsa.com/awards-and-scholarships/hmsa-kaimana-awards-and-scholarship-program/. 


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