Earlier in the day, breaking protocol, Modi personally received Abe at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International airport with a warm hug.
The visiting dignitary was given a guard of honour while artists from different parts of the country presented a variety programme.
The two leaders and Japan’s First Lady Akie Abe boarded an open jeep and proceeded from the airport to the historic Sabarmati Ashram with thousands of cheering people lining both sides of the eight-and-half km route.
At the Ashram, Modi, Abe and his wife paid floral tributes to a portrait and a bust of Mahatma Gandhi. Modi also presented Abe a marble sculpture of Gandhi’s famous three monkeys.
On Thursday, Modi and Abe will participate in the ground breaking ceremony of the ambitious Rs 1.08 lakh crore ($17 billion) Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed rail project at the Western Railway Athletic Stadium near Sabarmati railway station.