The age- and gender-specific profile of circadian blood pressure variation was examined by monitoring ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) in 477 untreated subjects in a rural community of northern Japan. Autoregressive spectral analysis demonstrated three major peaks at around 24, 12, and 8 h. We fitted a truncated Fourier series with three harmonics to the blood pressure (BP) data using least squares regression. More than half of the BP and pulse rate periodic curves were bimodal, one-third were trimodal, and the remainder were unimodal. The nadir of BP appeared between 00:00 and 01:30, and that of pulse rate occurred between 00:30 and 02:00. The nadir of systolic and diastolic BP, as well as pulse rate, appeared earlier with increasing age, and the difference between subjects in their 20s and those in their 70s was about 1 h. The amplitude of 24 h BP decreased with increasing age in men, but not in women. This type of information on the circadian BP profile of a general population is useful for the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension.