Aim Despite Japan being a developed nation, half of its older population does not attend regular health checkups. The aim of the present study was to examine the individual health beliefs and personal recommendations that strongly influence health checkup attendance among community‐dwelling older adults. Methods In 2013, questionnaires were sent to 5401 community‐dwelling older adults who were not receiving long‐term institutionalized care. The response rate was 94.3%. We analyzed response data from 4984 older adults using multiple imputation to manage missing data. Participation in health checkups was defined as having undergone at least one checkup in the past 3 years, and non‐participation as having attended no checkups in this period. Results The participants’ mean age was 75.8 years, and 57.9% were women. The adjusted odds ratio of health checkup participation ranged from 1.35 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.13–1.61) to 1.62 (95% CI 1.34–1.95) for positive individual health beliefs about health checkups, and was 2.21 (95% CI: 1.51–3.24) and 1.28 (95% CI: 1.17–2.08) for recommendations to participate from family and neighbors, respectively. All odds ratios were adjusted for age, sex, driving by oneself to daily shopping or clinic, paid work, method of response, internal medical therapy, polypharmacy, serious disease, periodic blood test, frailty and neighborly relationships. Conclusions The present findings suggest that both individual and community approaches might be effective in promoting participation in health checkups among community‐dwelling older adults. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2017; ••: ••–••.