Hippocampal plasticity and mnemonic processing exhibit a striking time-of-day dependence and likely implicate a temporally structured replay of memory traces. Molecular mechanisms fulfilling the requirements of sensing time and capturing time-related information are coded in dynamics of so-called clock genes and their protein products, first discovered and described in the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus. Using real-time PCR and immunohistochemical analyses, we show that in wildtype mice core clock components (mPer1/PER1, mPer2/PER2, mCry1/CRY1, mCry2/CRY2, mClock/CLOCK, mBmal1/BMAL1) are expressed in neurons of all subregions of the hippocampus in a time-locked fashion over a 24-h (diurnal) day/night cycle. Temporal profiling of these transcriptional regulators reveals distinct and parallel peaks, at times when memory traces are usually formed and/or consolidated. The coordinated rhythmic expression of hippocampal clock gene expression is greatly disordered in mice deficient for the clock gene mPer1, a key player implicated in both, maintenance and adaptative plasticity of circadian clocks. Moreover, Per1-knockout animals are severely handicapped in a hippocampus-dependent long-term spatial learning paradigm. We propose that the dynamics of hippocampal clock gene expression imprint a temporal structure on memory processing and shape at the same time the efficacy of behavioral learning.