© 2018 The Author(s) The kidneys regulate many vital functions that require precise control throughout the day. These functions, such as maintaining sodium balance or regulating arterial pressure, rely on an intrinsic clock mechanism that was commonly believed to be controlled by the central nervous system. Mounting evidence in recent years has unveiled previously underappreciated depth of influence by circadian rhythms and clock genes on renal function, at the molecular and physiological level, independent of other external factors. The impact of circadian rhythms in the kidney also affects individuals from a clinical standpoint, as the loss of rhythmic activity or clock gene expression have been documented in various cardiovascular diseases. Fortunately, the prognostic value of examining circadian rhythms may prove useful in determining the progression of a kidney-related disease, and chronotherapy is a clinical intervention that requires consideration of circadian and diurnal rhythms in the kidney. In this review, we discuss evidence of circadian regulation in the kidney from basic and clinical research in order to provide a foundation on which a great deal of future research is needed to expand our understanding of circadian relevant biology.