yes it is, you can download a free java compiler from Sun Microsystems i believe. Or you could buy J++ from microsoft. The sytax for java is about the same as C++ if I remember correctly. I started to learn java once, but i never really saw the point..........
To start you need a Java development kit. This can be as simple as the Java SDK that is freely available from Sun or Microsoft. The SDK’s will provide you with a JVM (Java Virtual Machine) and the base classes necessary to start development, but you wont get an IDE and benefits such as a syntax-colored text editors or sophisticated debuggers. The SDK from Sun supports the newer features of the Java 2 platform and is necessary if you are going to use Java2D and Java3D. Microsoft’s SDK does not support the Java 2 platform, but offers some proprietary features (such as a proprietary native method interface) and the Microsoft JVM has features to facilitate communicating between COM components and Java objects.
There are several IDE’s to choose from. There really is no ‘best’ IDE – they all have various strengths and weaknesses. Inprise (Borland’s) JBuilder is a great tool, and its ‘introduction’ version - called JBuilder Foundation – is free (http://www.inprise.com/jbuilder/foundation/). The JBuilder Standard edition offers a few additional features and can be purchased for as little as $89 dollars. J++ is a good choice if you are only developing for the Windows OS or have decided to use DirectX as your graphics API. If you look back a few days there was a thread that discussed the pro’s and con’s of various IDE’s .
If you decide to use some other graphics API other than Java2D you will need to download that as well. Java3D can be downloaded for free as a Java extension from Sun. The DirectX SDK can be downloaded for free from Microsoft. There are numerous OpenGL extensions for Java. You can view a list of some of them as well as other information pertaining to Java game development on the Java Game Development FAQ.