First let me start by stating a difference in japanese bonsai tools and chinese bonsai tools. Chinese tools are more cost affordable but often built of lesser quality. Japanese tools cost more, and often comes in various grade. You usually find novice, intermediate, Professionnal. All graded at different price from lowest to highest. Then, you have the stainless steel tools, wich are the summum. They are often professionnal grade but rust-proof.
As a beginner, If you want to try bonsai, you can start with chinese bonsai tools, since they dont cost alot, but once you will have used chinese tools, and if you get to try a japanese pair of pliers of cutter, even the novice one, you'll notice the quality difference and will want to only use japanese bonsai tools in the future. So, novice japanese tools are ok for a beginner ? You bet. Once you'll get more serious about bonsai, you can start to upgrade your bonsai tool kit.
As for wich tool you should use, the first tool often considered and recommended is the concave cutter.
Concave cutters, novice Grade
Concave cutter are use to cut branches of small to somewhat large size. They comme in various for and shape.
But what about just trimming a newly acquired bonsai ? Well then a nice pair of long neck shears are in order.They are called satsuki shears. They also come in various grade But I suggest at least a novice/student japanese pair of satsuki.
Satsuki Hasami Bonsai Shear Tool
Or you could use a small leaf trimmer just like those :
Bonsai Leaf Trimmer
Those are about the basic tools for bonsai. Each bonsai tools regularly comes in various size. Size usually vary from 5-11 inches, but the most common are 8 inch tools. Since they are mass produce, they usually are cheaper to buy then smaller and larger size.
Many different other tools could be used and you often discover their particular use as you learn bonsai. Practice makes perfect and help you learn alot. Some of the tools in my bonsai tool kit are:
Caring for your bonsai tools is essential to their survival and to your bonsai budget. If you dont take care of your tools, they will often rust, since you are around water and moist when you work with bonsai tree. Proper cleaning of your tools after each use and proper lubrification of your cutters and pliers will help protect them and avoid premature end of life.
Hope this has been a small usefull introduction to bonsai tools. However, many other tools are available, such as knob cutters, branch benders, instant glue for broken branches, dremel and similar rotating tools. Their is no perfect Bonsai Tool Kit
but the ultimate would be a stainless steel japanese tool kit with lots of tools. In bonsai you have to use your imagination to create masterpiece.