Aim To evaluate the relationship between kidney function without diabetes and components of the frailty phenotype in community‐dwelling Japanese older adults. Methods Participants were 8343 residents who completed baseline assessments, classified into four categories according to eGFR. Frailty status was defined using five criteria: (i) slow gait speed; (ii) muscle weakness; (iii) low physical activity; (iv) exhaustion; and (v) unintentional weight loss. Results After multivariate adjustment, participants with the lowest kidney function were at higher risk of frailty (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.02–3.50) than those with normal kidney function. In addition, after adjustment for multiple confounders, estimated glomerular filtration rate <30 was associated with a greater risk of the individual frailty components of weight loss (OR 2.14, 95% CI 1.11–4.12), low physical activity (OR 1.35, 95% CI, 1.01–2.54) and slowness (OR 1.82, 95% CI 1.36–3.77) compared with estimated glomerular filtration rate ≥60. Conclusions Lower kidney function was associated with a higher risk of weight loss, low physical activity and slowness among community‐dwelling Japanese older adults.